History of Birkin by Hermès. Legendary bags. Read more
Hermès Birkin bag. Source: Getty Images
Fashion historian Milana Abieva in a series of materials for the online magazine «Shipyards» spoke about the legendary Birkin bag from Hermès.
It’s no secret that fashion is cyclical and fleeting. The twentieth century was the first period in the history of fashion and costume in which each decade was radically different from the next. And it was replaced by the twenty-first century, which is even more intense in this sense — the era of fast fashion, in which trends are rapidly replacing each other.
object of desire
However, there are some “constants” in fashion that stand apart and occupy their own special, unshakable place. These are things or accessories that have become absolute classics, always desired and relevant. These include luxurious silk scarves, pumps, a tweed suit from Chanel and, of course, the legendary handbags that make the hearts of all women tremble without exception.
And today I will tell you about one of these legendary bags, namely the iconic Birkin handbag model from Hermès.
Created back in 1984, this concise and functional model has not lost its relevance to this day, being an invariable object of desire for girls and women of all generations. However, getting this model so beloved by all celebrities is not so easy — sometimes the waiting time is more than one year. After all, the Hermès fashion house, without changing its traditions, continues to make each handbag exclusively by hand from the highest quality leather.
It’s funny that the first sketch, or, to be more precise, a sketch of this model, was made on board the aircraft on the first piece of paper that came across, which, in fact, was a hygienic bag used in case of nausea. Who would have thought that this is how a bag would be created, passed down from generation to generation as a relic and constantly growing in value?
Lukoshko and Birkin
But how could it be otherwise if it was about the most charming actress Jane Birkin and Jean-Louis Dumas, who headed the Hermès house at that time? A chance meeting of these two non-random people on board a plane flying from Paris to London led to the birth of one of the most iconic bags of our time. Birkin, who preferred her favorite wicker baskets and did not part with them even at ski resorts, in an attempt to find something in her bag, accidentally knocks it over.
The contents of the notorious «bast basket» crumble to the delight of curious neighbors. Her neighbor, Monsieur Dumas, politely remarks that it would be much more convenient to carry a more reliable handbag with compartments, so as not to get into such awkward situations in the future. A conversation begins between them, during which the actress admits that she has not yet found the perfect travel bag model for herself. Dumas, listening to the wishes of Birkin, immediately makes a sketch of the handbag. The result of this chance meeting was the appearance of a completely new model of a handbag from Hermes — sporty, roomy, but at the same time very elegant.
The handbag was named after its ideological inspirer — Birkin. And she gained real worldwide fame a little later — in the 1990s — when the era of the so-called «it-bags» began to emerge. In fairness, it should be noted that a great contribution to the popularization of this model was made by style icon and designer Victoria Beckham, who was in the center of attention of the fashion community during this period of time. Beckham, most often complemented her images with Hermès handbags, while giving preference to the aforementioned model.
Today, the handbag not only retains its popularity, but also continues to grow in price — the starting price of the most «simple model» is $15,000. Not to mention models made of exotic alligator leather with diamond-encrusted fittings — the prices for such “treasures” can reach several hundred thousand dollars. So, last summer, the handbag set a new record, becoming the most expensive purchase in the history of online auctions: the new lucky owner of a Birkin handbag made of rare alligator leather with white gold fittings studded with diamonds paid three hundred thousand dollars for it.