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7 Things you didn't know about the Hermès Birkin bag

Fine craft

7 Things you didn't know about the Hermès Birkin bag

Text: Joan Kong

Aside from the hefty price tag, here are some facts you may not know about the iconic piece

Think you know everything about the highly coveted Birkins? Think again. Price tags aside, there's much more to these arm candies than meets the eye. Originally made for French actress and It-girl Jane Birkin after a chance encounter with the CEO of Hermès, although the bag was only created 34 years ago, it has become an ultimate status symbol. The exclusivity has made the bags extra desirable, with a cult-like following from fashion's It-list to Hollywood celebrities and political figures.

 

Below, the seven facts you may not know about the Hermès Birkin:

1.     Think of Hermès and its orange box will come to mind. But did you know the brand's original boxes were supposed to be in cream colour with gold borders? After running out of supplies, the cardboard maker—who only had orange paper left—decided to go ahead to use the shade instead. The box went on to win a packaging Oscar in 1994.   

 

 

 

2.     We know that the bag is named after French actress Jane Birkin, but did you know that the first sketch was done on an aeroplane sick bag? The CEO of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas, offered to create the perfect leather weekend bag for Jane after he saw her belongings fall out of her straw bag in the overhead compartment.

Jane Birkin with her Hermes Birkin bag

3.     According to a public Hermès Birkin exhibition at Liberty London in 2014, Jane Birkin's first bag featured a specially attached nail clipper inside as she was apparently particular about her nails.

4.     For someone who has a highly coveted bag named after her, you would assume Jane Birkin has a closet full of the designs in an array of colours and textures, but it turns out that the actress used to only own one Birkin at a time until it wears out. But in an interview with BBC last year, she revealed that she no longer carries the bag anymore as it's too heavy, and prefers to leave the house fuss-free.

 

5.     Although the Birkin bags are arguably Hermès' most recognised piece, the brand is actually known for its leather craftsmanship, so exclusivity aside, you can expect the same detailed work to be put into the making of each carrier. One bag takes an artisan—trained for a minimum of five years—at least 48 hours to finish, and they each have their own set of tools.

Hermes factory

6.     While the bags generally start at five-figures, the most expensive Birkin recorded so far is the Himalaya Birkin below, which was sold at the Christie's Hong Kong auction for $383,522 (approximately RM1.5 million).

Hermes Himalaya Birkin

7.     Unlike gold and S&P 500 where the price fluctuates, the value of Birkins has never decreased, according to a research study by Baghunter. In 2016, studies have shown that the rare pieces have "averaged a 14.2% annual return over the past few decades". So when we say shopping is an investment, when it comes to Hermès, it's the truth.

 

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