The most iconic bag of all time was born on a flight from Paris to London, in the early 80’s, following a conversation between Paris based British actress Jane Birkin and then Hermes CEO, Jean-Louis Dumas.
Legend has it, following an upgrade, the actress ended up sitting next to the executive, and the contents of her bag spilled out.
Dumas suggested she needs a bag with pockets and sketched a supple and spacious rectangular holdall with a burnished flap and saddle stitching.
With a dedicated space for baby bottles! The rest is history.
An elegant yet sporty & generous bag designed to
be carried either on the hand or wrist, the Birkin
represented a modern statement from the house,
its first move in this direction from its classical and
traditional position. The Birkin played a pivotal role
in making Hermes the fashion house it is today.
The house dates back to 1837, starting as a supplier of
saddling and equestrian equipment, with craft at the
core. The house’s commitment to this is exactly what
has ensured their continued success and recognition
for 183 years and counting.
Each bag is made by only one skilled craftsperson,
from start to finish in Les Ateliers Hermes, on the
outskirts of the French capital and can take on
average, 48 hours. They learn their craft at the in
house Hermes leather school, where they are trained
by Hermes artisans for a year to make the “Kelly” bag,
which has the most elements in a bag that need to be
All bags are entirely handstitched using the iconic
saddle stitch which uses 2 needles and 1 piece of
thread. Very few parts of the bag are machine sewn,
and even so, always finalized by hand. Each part of
the manufacturing process is functional and handled
with an exquisite attention to detail and precision,
making each piece unique and ageless.
Many bags don’t make it to the shopfloor. If it’s not absolutely perfect,
it gets rejected- put on display or sold in staff sales.
There are approximately 200,000 Birkins in circulation. The house no
longer takes orders for the bag, customers must wait for their wanted
shade to hit the shelves, nor do they declare how many they produce but
rumoured to be 12,000/year. Owning a Birkin is essentially a waiting game.
Prices for the bag generally increase yearly and often marketed as POA
(price on asking) but they can range from 12,000 USD- 200,000 USD. Additionally, it is better to invest in a Birkin than in the stock market (14.2% average
annual return over the past decades, greater than S&P 500 and GOLD). Most expensive Birkin ever sold - 3
year old Himalaya by Christie’s Auction House for a record 380,000
USD in June 2017, Hong Kong.