- Julieta Censini

Birkin, an emblematic handbag by Hermes. 30th Anniversary.

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Some days ago we talk about Rockstud, the iconic shoes by Valentino, and today we want to dedicate this post to Birkin, the emblematic bag by Hermes.

Designers, models and celebrities are not the only who have left their mark in fashion history. Their designs, their creations, materials, and style have also won their space.

Birkin bag is one of them. Since it was released for first time, in one of the collections in 1984, it has been a “MUST-HAVE” for celebrities. You need 7,500 dollar minimum to buy one, although some special designs have reached a cost up to 140.000 US. This year is the 30th anniversary of this emblematic bag by Hermes.


How did everything begin?
The architect of this handbag is the English actress, film director, singer and songwriter Jane Birkin.

One of most notable fashion icon in 60’s used to wear a straw basket as bag. During one of her air travels Paris-London, Jane coincided with Hermes’ director (for this moment), Jean-Louis Dumas, who seated next to her and was really surprised to see how a popular artist like her was able to use a straw basket. He asked her the reason and she explained that she had not found any handbag where she could  carry all her things and could open easily.


This conversation was inspiring to Dumas, who proposed to Jane to design a bag that satisfied all her needs: a bag she really liked, a bag that was functional and spacious, practical and versatile. It took about three years to design the perfect handbag for Jane Brikin.

Anatomy and elaboration
It has a rectangular shape with a short leather handle, a tongue-in-cheek, an original zipper pull, besides its mythic lock that serves also as accessory. As external as inner are in leather (reptile, ostrich and crocodile are the most common materials).


Birkin bag is designed by hand. The craftsmen take 48 hours to finish one single bag. They follow a French tradition: a technique in 19th century that uses two needles and a linen yarn.

Buyers can customized their Birkin bags: choose the leather, color and size, beside choosing accessorize them with gold, silver or diamonds. So, every Birkin bag is really as luxury as unique.

Kim Kardashian has 100 Birkin bags in her closet.


Birkin bag not only met the need of this artist, but also other women who wanted to get one of them. In fact, the response was so positive that for that reason was created the concept “waiting list”. Women had to wait, even for months or years, to get one of these luxury models. Some women had waited two years.

To tell why it is an icon in fashion history is not easy. It is a classic and rectangular bag, but experts say that being a 100% handmade bag and not to be accessible to all has raised the interest for this model.

Celebrities like the singer Lady Gaga or the actress and fashion designer Nene Leakes are wearing their Customized Birkin Bags.


In 2010 Hermes announced that waiting list had been eliminated, so some woman who wanted a Birkin bag should just go to its stores. However, the brand has always attempted to make sure that its client is worthy to look its emblematic model, but specially, that she never is going to resell it. Myth or not, authors like Michael Tonello (his book is entitled: “Bringing Home the Birkin) have published books about this emblematic bag and all its myths.

Victoria Beckham is another fan of this model.


Among the most famous clients of Birkin bag are: Sarah Jessica Parker, Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, Lucy Liu, Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Cate Blanchett, Eva Longoria, Kate Holmes and Kim Kardashian, who has confessed, very proud, having the significant amount of 100 Birkin models.

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