The Hermès Birkin bag is one of the most coveted and most expensive designer handbags in the world. For many, quite simply, it is seen as the ultimate handbag. Here is the Birkin bag's story.
The origins of the Birkin
The story begins on a flight from Paris to London in 1981. Hermès CEO, Jean-Louis Dumas was set next to the actress/singer, Jane Birkin. Birkin had put her bag in the overhead compartment and as she reached for it, the contents of it emptied onto the floor. She then expressed her frustration to Dumas about not being able to find a weekend bag she really liked. So, Dumas created the original Birkin, a supple leather bag in black, for her.
The design of the Birkin
Birkin bags come in a range of sizes and different hides, colours and hardware fixtures. It is renowned for the use of exotic leathers, including ostrich and lizard. The most expensive of all is the saltwater crocodile version.
Each bag is lined with goat skin matching the colour of the exterior. Each Birkin bag has a lock and keys, which are enclosed in a leather clochette which loops through a handle. All metallic hardware is plated with either gold or palladium to prevent tarnishing. Hardware can be custom-made with other details, such as diamond encrusting.
Each Birkin bears the stamp of the artisan who crafted the bag. The Hermès Kelly handbag, named after Grace Kelly, is similar to the Birkin bag, but the Kelly is a single-handled bag and the Hermès Birkin bag has two handles.
The craftsmanship of the Birkin
Each Birkin bag is individually handmade in France. The signature saddle stitching is a key feature. Each bag takes a few days to complete - the average is 48 hours. The meticulous process includes buffing, painting and polishing.
The demand for the Birkin
With only around 70,000 Birkin bags produced each year, there is considerable demand for them. The individual craftsmanship involved in the production of each bag means that no two Birkin bags are the same, which has obvious appeal. There is often a waiting list lasting years for this coveted item. The scarcity of the Birkin only adds to the demand from collectors.Search Now For Hermes Birkin