History: Birkin 101
Fashion’s ultimate handbag, a world-renowned symbol of luxury, a power woman’s statement is the Hermes Birkin. The story begins in 1984. The concept of the original Birkin handbag was born on Air France between former Hermes chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas and British actress Jane Birkin. On the flight from Paris to London, Jane upgraded her ticket and ended up sitting next to the Hermes executive spilling everything in her bag right there on the plane. This led to the conversation and the beginning of the most iconic handbag design in history created on a paper napkin! Thank you Jane Birkin for being the muse for the epitome of luxury. Je t’aime.
The Anatomy of a Birkin
The original Birkin was designed for Jane in black calf box leather and is what we refer to as a Birkin 40cm. The Birkin is held by two top handles lifting its rectangular base with four metal clou (feet) on the bottom of the bag. This allows the Birkin to stand upright and protects the bag from normal wear and tear at the base. Two straps, or sangles, with metal plaques on each end, are held together by the touret, a turnlock for closure. The straps are then looped behind pontets. The clochette holds the keys with a strip of leather hanging around the straps. The signature finale of the Hermes Birkin are the tiret, clochette and lock all joining together.
The Birkin’s interior is spacious with two pockets, one is zippered and another open. Jane’s request for a design that is elegant and functional combined with the beauty of Hermes craftsmanship has made the Birkin a fashion icon.
The Birkin Sizes
The Hermes Birkin bag comes in a variety of sizes, skins, colors and hardware. The more rare the skin of the bag and the more precious the metal, the more exclusive and expensive the Birkin. But we will get to that in another blog. The Birkin bag size ranges from the smallest Birkin at 20 centimeters to the largest Birkin at 40 centimeters (not including the Birkin Tiny). The sizing measures the length in centimeters across the base of the bag.
Building a Birkin is quite the production. Hermes has over 50 production sites in 12 regions of France. The Hermes Birkin skins are carefully picked and then crafted by hand using a saddle-stitching technique. It takes 18-25 hours to create one Birkin bag. The most sought after sizes are the Birkin 30 cm and Birkin 25 cm.
- 25 cm: 9.84 inches (L) x 7.48 inches (H) x 4.33 inches (W)
- 30 cm: 11.81 inches (L) x 8.66 inches (H) x 5.12 inches (W)
- 35 cm: 13.78 inches (L) x 9.84 inches (H) x 5.91 inches (W)
- 40 cm: 15.75 inches (L) x 11.02 inches (H) x 6.69 inches (W)
Style: Long Live the Birkin
The Birkin is the statement. It doesn’t matter what else you are wearing, the Birkin will be the bag everyone notices. When you google Birkin and click on images, you find the Hermes Birkin with celebrities wearing anything from casual sweats to formal gowns. Jane Birkin is of course the original name associated with the Hermes bag. But other celebs associated with the Birkin are the Kardashians, Kyle Jenner, Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham and Beyonce among others. Birkin bags are gussied up and flaunted all over reality TV where we see the inside of the A-listers’ closets. The Real Housewives franchise has changed the way we see a luxury closet (one of the most important parts of the house) and how we should display our Birkins. Men also indulge in Hermes, for instance Drake has made headlines by investing his Birkin collection for his future wife. David Oancea, also known as Vegas Dave, is a professional gambler who carries the Hermes Diamond Himalaya Birkin around Sin City. There is no wrong way to wear a Birkin. It shall remain the reigning bag that everyone associates with luxury. But how to get one?
How to Buy a Birkin: The Hermes Store vs Reseller
You mainly have two options, purchasing directly from a Hermes store or buying from a reseller. Both have their pros and cons but it is important to understand the difference before buying the ultimate handbag.
Buying from a Hermes Store Pros & Cons
Purchasing a Birkin Bag isn’t as simple as going into a Hermes store and buying one. In fact, it is notoriously difficult to get your hands on a Birkin Bag. They have to be ordered in the Hermes store and you may be placed on their wish list. You can increase your odds of getting an offer by creating a relationship with a sales associate (SA), buying other Hermes items to prove your loyalty to the brand and attending trunk shows. It’s a process, a love affair.
1. Authenticity. You know the bag is authentic coming directly from the Hermes store.
2. Experience. There is the experience of being in a store and having a physical, tangible experience. When you have been finally offered to buy an Hermes bag, you are getting the retail price.
1. Availability. Hermes is synonymous with luxury & scarcity and are brilliant at keeping the Birkin a growing investment. The boutiques may not have the variety that you want and most likely you will have to order and play the waiting game. It could take months, maybe even years to get the bag you have been swooning over. And you may not even get the color you have been lusting for.
2. Birkin Bate. This is the term used by those of us who have been waiting to be offered, even catch a glimpse at the IT bag, but instead you are offered other Hermes items in the hopes of getting your Birkin. These items have been nicknamed Birkin bate. Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love the Hermes Avalon blanket, mugs, trays and every piece of their Hermes collection – but we can all understand that some want to skip the Birkin bate and go straight to the bag without the foreplay.
What is a Reseller? And why is it a good option?
A Reseller purchases authentic luxury handbags for resale for their clients of A-list celebrities, stylists, luxury shopping services and for other collectors. Resellers have new, previously owned new bags, mint condition, lightly used and or vintage handbags. Reputable resellers are authenticators, collectors, and lovers of their craft. A reseller can be seen as an obsessive collector but what’s not to obsess over, really? (Check out our All Hermes Bags Collection) As a reseller we curate and collect Hermes bags for the love of the bag and our clients.
Pros: Availability & Variety. Resellers have a wide variety of handbags and they are actually available for you to purchase. Available bags to purchase? No waiting, no Birkin bate, just the Hermes handbag you have been lusting for.
Con: Trust. Both options of a sales associate and reseller have one thing in common, relationships. If you do your homework, understand your bag, know your obsession (lol), you will find a good relationship with a reseller that you can trust. This is the person you sell or consign your luxury goods to, buy new or vintage bags from, and come to when you need to find the bag that you are missing.