The Birkin tote bag takes off
What sets the renowned luxury Birkin tote bag apart and makes it so special? Well, not counting the perfect craftsmanship and its high level of exclusivity, there is its origin. The idea for the design was initially floated high in the sky during an Air France flight from Paris to London in 1984. Then Executive Chairman of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas, came up with the idea for the famous bag after meeting the famed actress and singer Jane Birkin, who was by coincidence on that same flight. Since then, the bag – named after Birkin – has become extremely popular and is now one of the most sought-after bags worldwide.
How the Birkin continues to influence fashion trends
Carrying a Birkin bag confers an air of prestige and grants its owner a sense of exclusivity, status, and refined taste. The Hermès name is highly regarded not just because of its rarity value, but also due to exceptional artistry, meticulous attention to detail, and the enviable reputation it carries. Not surprisingly, its unique combination of style and functionality has had a profound effect on the fashion industry, shaping the definition of what a luxury handbag ought to be. Without a doubt, that legendary meeting between actress Jane Birkin and Jean-Louis Dumas, the CEO of Hermès, transformed the world of handbag design for all time – its extraordinary influence is undeniable.
An iconic Birkin among celebrities
Although Jane Birkin may have been the first celebrity to own a Birkin bag, many others have since followed in her footsteps. Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss, and Jennifer Lopez are just a few of the celebrities who own a Hermès Birkin handbag. Kim Kardashian, in fact, has a priceless George Condo hand-painted Birkin. There are several instances in pop culture where Hermès has been prominently featured, particularly in films and television shows such as ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘The Proposal’. The chic handbag is also a favourite with style-conscious fashionistas.
Dreaming of owning a Birkin
The Hermès label is renowned for creating some of the most expensive handbags in the world. On top of that, limited edition Birkins are the rarest among all Hermès bags due to their restricted and exclusive release. More than just bags, they are regarded as sculptural artworks which are meant to be collected and treasured. An excellent illustration is the Hermès Shadow Birkin, inspired by trompe l’oeil and designed by the renowned Jean Paul Gaultier. Initially introduced in 2009, it was later released for sale in limited quantities 10 years after its initial debut.
However, in order to purchase a Birkin directly from Hermès, customers are required to have a prior purchase history with the brand. Hermès has a policy where only boutiques are permitted to purchase a limited number of Birkin bags, and then only twice a year. The specific style of Birkin bags that will be delivered to the boutiques is often not disclosed in advance.
If that is not challenging enough, Birkin bags are typically custom-made and are thus exceedingly unique and difficult to obtain since Hermès strictly supervises their manufacture and distribution.
It’s possible that the process of acquiring new a Birkin bag has changed throughout the years and will continue to do so. According to a recent article in Vogue, “waiting lists at Hermès stores no longer exist” although the magazine also notes that availability fluctuates depending on location. Hermès encourages customers to pay a visit to the establishment that is geographically closest to them and provides a store locator to facilitate this.
Pre-owned means pre-loved
Taking all the above into account, if you want to make your dreams a reality, it will probably be easier and less expensive to shop for a pre-owned Birkin bag. The Birkin is highly sought after, with close to a million web searches specifically relating to this iconic bag being recorded every month. But pre-loved Hermès bags will generally have a lower price tag when compared to their original retail price, which is the norm among second-hand designer bags.
Having said that, it’s worth noting that a second-hand Hermès bag retains its value better compared to other brands, and in good condition can be sold for approximately 80% of its original retail price.