Birkin bag

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Birkin bag made from dyed pink calf leather
Pink Birkin bag (front)
Jane Birkin, 1985

The Birkin bag is a handbag by Hermès, handmade in leather and named after actress and singer Jane Birkin. The bag is a symbol of wealth due to its high price and usage by celebrities.[1]

Its prices range from £4,800 to £100,000 ($7,400 to $150,000). Costs escalate according to the type of materials. The bags are distributed to Hermès boutiques on unpredictable schedules and in limited quantities, creating scarcity and exclusivity.

History[edit]

In 1981, Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas was seated next to Jane Birkin on a flight from Paris to London. She had just placed her straw bag in the overhead compartment of her seat, but the contents fell to the deck, leaving her to scramble to replace them. Birkin explained to Dumas that it had been difficult to find a leather weekend bag she liked. In 1984, he created a black supple leather bag for her,[2][3] based on an 1892 design. She used the bag for herself then later changed her mind because she was carrying too many things in it: “What’s the use of having a second one?” she laughs. “You only need one and that busts your arm; they’re bloody heavy. I’m going to have to have an operation for tendonitis in the shoulder.” [4] Nevertheless, the bag has since become an icon.

Design[edit]

Birkin bags are sold in a range of sizes. Each one may be made to order with different customer-chosen hides, color, and hardware fixtures. There are other individual options, such as diamond-encrusting.

Craftsmanship[edit]

Hermès Ostrich Birkin bag.

The bags are handmade in France by expert artisans. The company's signature saddle stitching, developed in the 1800s, is another distinctive feature.[8]

Each bag is hand-sewn, buffed, painted, and polished, taking several days to finish. An average bag is created in 48 hours. Leathers are obtained from different tanners in France, resulting in varying smells and textures. Because of the individual craftsmanship, other details of the bags may not all match. The company justifies the cost of the Birkin bag, compared to other bags, based on the meticulous craftsmanship and scarcity.[9]

Demand[edit]

Although the Birkin bag is free of logos, it is one of the most recognized bags in the fashion industry and by the public.

It is highly coveted and, for several years, was reputed for having a waiting list of up to six years – the longest wait for any bag in history.[10] As a result of the strong demand, the Birkin bag has a high reselling value in many countries, especially in Asia.[11] In April 2010, Hermès announced that the waiting list would no longer exist, implying that it is potentially available to all.[12] The Philippine Star reported in March 2013 that a very high-end, 30-cm Shiny Rouge H Porosus Crocodile Birkin with 18K gold fittings and encrusted with diamonds fetched US$203,150 at an auction in Dallas, Texas.[13] Web articles explaining how to buy a Birkin are very popular![14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Martha's Moneyed Bag Carries Too Much Baggage". The Washington Post. 22 January 2004. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Bag lady: Victoria Beckham's 100-Strong Birkin Bag Collection That's Worth £1.5m". The Daily Mail (UK). 20 May 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "In the Bag". Time magazine. 17 April 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  4. ^ http://www.styleite.com/media/jane-birkin-bag/
  5. ^ a b c "Hermes v. Hermes". The Washington Post. 28 June 2006. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Can a Birkin bag Get You Special Treatment?". USA Today. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "How to Bag a Birkin". The Daily Mail (UK). 28 April 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  8. ^ "Bag Man". The Boston Globe. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  9. ^ "Box up the Birkin Hermes Craftsman Stitches Up Lavish Leather Goods in Calgary". The Calgary Herald. 16 October 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "Hermes". New York Magazine. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Bringing Home the Birkin, by Michael Tonello, 2008, Harper
  12. ^ "The Wait (List) Is Over: Now Anyone With $5,000 Can Get Their Hands On A Birkin". Glamour. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  13. ^ Tetta Ortiz Matera (March 20, 2013). "Crocodile Skin 101" , The Philippine Star
  14. ^ "How to buy a Birkin". POPxo.com. Retrieved (January 31, 2014). 

External links[edit]