FASHION HISTORY LESSON: THE ICONIC HERMÈS BIRKIN

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A crocodile Hermès Birkin Bag at the brand's store in New York in 2007. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty ImagesA crocodile Hermès Birkin Bag at the brand's store in New York in 2007. 

Welcome to our new column, Fashion History Lesson, in which we dive deep into the origin and evolution of the fashion industry's most influential and omnipresent businesses, icons, products and more. 

A Birkin is not your average handbag. It is known for its superior craftsmanship and jaw-dropping price tag, with standard models starting around $12,000. Hermès refuses to release the number of Birkin bags that it manufactures each year, limiting the elusive supply to an elite group of customers. Thanks to this tight control, the brand has succeeded in maintaining the bag’s reputation as one of the world’s most desirable and unobtainable luxury items. A recent study showed Birkin bags are actually a better investment than stocks or gold, increasing in value by 14.2 percent on average each year. And in June, the item became the world’s most expensive handbag ever auctioned when an anonymous buyer in Hong Kong spent the equivalent of $300,168 on a single style. 

After all, it’s human nature for people to want what they can’t have…. even people like Samantha Jones. From horse stables to "Sex and the City," read on to find out how the world’s most coveted carryall came to be.

Jane Birkin goes out on a pedalo during the Cannes Film Festival in 1974. Photo: AFP/Getty ImagesJane Birkin goes out on a pedalo during the Cannes Film Festival in 1974. 

Long before her name became synonymous with luxury handbags, Jane Birkin was a French style icon in her own right. Originally from England, the singer, actress and humanitarian is perhaps best known for her long-term musical (and romantic) relationship with the controversial French musician Serge Gainsbourg. The release of the couple’s sexually explicit song "Je t'aime… moi non plus" in 1969 solidified Birkin's status as the British-born emblem of French chic.

According to Hermès lore, the idea for the brand's Birkin bag came from a serendipitous airplane encounter in 1981 between the stylish chanteuse andJean-Louis Dumas, the late chief executive of Hermès. The well-known story involves Ms. Birkin spilling the contents of a straw tote bag everywhere, inspiring the French label’s executive to create a bag that would be suitable for jet-setting women with too much to carry. Four years later, their airplane "collaboration" resulted in what we now know as the Birkin bag, and voila! A star was born. 

Hermès Birkin bags in a French workshop. Photo: Mehdi Fedouach//AFP/Getty ImagesHermès Birkin bags in a French workshop. 

Hermès is now best known for selling the Birkin, among other socialite-approved purses and printed scarves, but the historic house was originally recognized for its finely crafted horse harnesses and carriages. The Parisian shop first opened in 1837, but didn’t enter the world of luxury handbags until 1922. Their first celeb-endorsed bag was the "Sac à dépêches," which was later renamed the "Kelly" bag after being widely photographed on the arm of Princess Grace of Monaco. Both the Kelly and Birkin designs are supposedly based off of an Hermès bag from 1892 called the "Haut à Courroies," which was inspired by horse feed and saddle bags. [2] However, in Ms. Birkin's version of her namesake bag’s origin story, she and Dumas concocted the design and sketched it on an airplane sick-bag, which makes for a much better tale than finding inspiration in a horse stable.

Although it's difficult to imagine now, the bag was far from an overnight success. As noted in Vogue, Chanel had dominated the luxury bag market in the 1980s. [1] Although the Birkin bag was first introduced in 1984, it didn’t take off until the mid-to-late 1990s, at the dawn of the so-called "It-Bag" era.In fact, the only exposure that the bag got in Vogue until that time was in an Hermès advertisement that ran in 1989.

The iconic tote became forever known as the ultimate status symbol when it was used as a plot-point in a 2001 episode of Sex and the City. In the episode, Samantha Jones uses one of her celebrity client’s names in order to skip the "five year" waiting list for the coveted bag. After the episode aired, the Birkin's actual waiting list tripled in length, which is a true testament to the cultural impact of the show. [2] In 2005, the bag became even more widely-known when Gilmore Girls featured a storyline involving Rory Gilmore's boyfriend Logan bequeathing her with the precious handbag, only to discover that — gasp! — Rory had no idea what made the bag so special.

Model Kate Moss walks with her daughter Lola and a Birkin bag in 2003. Photo: Aura/Getty ImagesModel Kate Moss walks with her daughter Lola and a Birkin bag in 2003. Photo: Aura/Getty Images

Today, Birkin bags can be found on the perfectly toned arms of many female celebrities. It has also become increasingly popular for stylish celebs to subvert the precious bag by customizing it, like Lady Gaga did by basically turning hers into a very expensive sketchpad. More recently, Kim Kardashian made headlines when she was gifted a Birkin that had been hand-painted by her infant daughter. Other stars, including Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham, have even repurposed the luxury totes as diaper bags, proving that a Birkin is, after all, a very utilitarian accessory.

In recent years, there has been some notable tension between Ms. Birkin and Hermès over the production methods that are used to create her namesake bag. PETA revealed in July 2015 that the French label was purchasing crocodile skins from a Texas farming factory employing inhumane practices towards its animals. Ms. Birkin publicly acknowledged the report and asked that her name be disassociated from the handbag. Although Hermès agreed to conduct an investigation in order to help clear its name and make-good with Ms. Birkin, PETA took it one step further by purchasing a single share in the company in order to gain access to its shareholder meetings. A few months later, Hermès announced that everything was “all-good” with Ms. Birkin, as she had been “satisfied by the measures taken by Hermès” to ensure that all skins were obtained ethically.  

If there's just one thing to learn from Jane Birkin and her mythical carryall, it’s that you should always make friends with fellow airplane passengers. After all, you never know when one of them will name an iconic luxury item after you. 

Tag: Hermès Birkin

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Come See A Gorgeous Hermes Bag Replica Birkin In Ostrich Leather!

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One thing is for sure: a Hermes bag replica like this is not easy to find, but it’s totally worth it!

Hermes Bag Replica Review – Fake Birkin Bag In Mykonos Ostrich Leather From UB

“Hi Eva,

Thank you so much for posting very useful information regularly on your blog. I think your website/blog is the most helpful source when it comes to buying replica bags online.

I have been reading your blog for several years and I got to know my favorite seller Uncle Bench thanks to you. However, I am recently seeing negative reviews about them, so I decided to share my lovely experiences with Uncle Bench with you so that more people can get amazing Hermes bag replica!

[Customer Services]
I have bought from Uncle Bench more than 5 times and my experiences with them were ALWAYS GREAT. I have used several methods to communicate with them – email, WeChat and Skype and I am satisfied with customer services by Rachel, Hugh and Laura. Though I am not a native speaker of English and we all use “foreign language” to communicate each other, their English are really good and there is NO misunderstanding between us.

[Item I am reviewing this time]
Today I am sharing one of my favorite bags I bought from them. I bought this Mykonos Ostrich Birkin 30 gold hardware (2 pictures attached) from them for my first purchasing experience with Uncle Bench. It’s been several years I bought from them but I always get attention wherever I go!

[From Order to Shipping]
My favorite color is blue and I instantly fell in love with Mykonos Ostrich color after I see it on their website, so I decided to buy it. I do understand it’s kind of risky to buy expensive exotic leather item for my first experiences with replica seller, but after doing comprehensive research and reading spotbags website, I was sure I can totally trust Uncle Bench, which was proved to be true after I receive the item.
When I asked availability of it, ostrich leather was not available so I decided to wait until it’s ready. Rachael clearly explained it will take about 3 weeks to make it and I agreed. They started making my bag after I made payment through wire transfer.
As Rachel promised me, my Hermes bag replica was made in 3 weeks and she shipped together with other Hermes bag I bought.

[Quality Control]
They have strict QC (quality control) procedure. Once bag is ready, they sent me picture so that I can confirm. In the picture they sent me, that was exactly what I received. They are really honest and reliable seller.

[Shipping]
She shipped the item to Hong Kong by Shun Fung with tracking code. The item arrived on the next day they shipped. They offered free shipping to Hong Kong!

[The bag]
I love my Mykonos Ostrich Birkin! As you see in the picture, I don’t see any differences with the Hermes authentic one and indeed, I never hesitated to go to Hermes shop with this bag in my hand. When I enter Hermes shop with this bag, the shop staff always notices me and immediately approaches me, saying “Thank you for using our bag. How can I help you today?”.
Also, when I am walking outside, I have been talked to by strangers many times and they say like “I love your Birkin!”, “Your Birkin is very beautiful!” etc.”

Fake Birkin Bag Mykonos Ostrich Leather Back Side

Fake Birkin Bag Mykonos Ostrich Back

Fake Birkin Bag Mykonos Ostrich Leather Logo Stamp

Fake Birkin Bag Ostrich Leather Front Stamp

Fake Birkin Bag Engraved Logo

Fake Birkin Bag Front Belt

Fake Birkin Bag Mykonos Ostrich Leather Padlock and Clochette

Fake Birkin Bag Ostrich Padlock and Leather Tag

Not that I ever doubted it, but this review just proved again that Uncle Bench is one of the bestdesigner replica bags sites, especially for Hermes replica bags! Shipping takes pretty long, so you have to be patient if you order from them. But if you receive a Hermes bag replica like this, I think it’s all worth it.

Still, don’t get too excited. Their quality comes with a hefty price. This Mykonos Ostrich Birkin was bought back in 2013 and at that time it was $1,580. But if you want a Hermes bag replica in ostrich leather, then you’ll have to pay $1,800 or $1,900 for a machine made fake Birkin bag. If you want the best Birkin replica custom-made and handsewn, then you’ll have to pay even more.

I know that not everyone could afford a Hermes bag replica this expensive, which is why I wrote a post on how to find the best replica Hermes bags for every budget. But then again, the authentic Hermes Ostrich Birkin bags are crazy expensive! For example, on Spotted Fashion, a Hermes Ostrich Birkin 30 Bag is listed for $18,900 but on Malleries you’ll find Hermes Ostrich bags that cost much more than that. So if you think of it this way, a Hermes bag replica this good doesn’t sound so expensive anymore, especially when it will bring you so many compliments!

Bonus: here are some photos of a Constance Elan Hermes bag replica in Etoupe that was bought for $980, also from Ubgallery.co.

Replica Hermes Constance Elan Etoupe Epsom

Replica Hermes Constance Elan Etoupe Epsom Leather

Replica Hermes Constance Elan Etoupe Gold Stamp

Replica Hermes Constance Elan Stamp Detail

Tag: replica bag Hermès Birkin

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Hermès Sales Continue to Grow Because It Plays Hard-to-Get with Birkin Bags

Hermes

Hermes-Crocodile-Birkin

Although sales are slowing in the long-booming Asian luxury market, it probably won’t surprise bag lovers to hear that Hermès continues to increase its sales and meet the expectations of industry-watching analysts. It also probably won’t surprise you to hear why;Bloomberg credits the brand’s strength with the Birkin’s perpetual scarcity.

Hermès’s total sales climbed 15% in the third quarter of 2015, raking in $1.2 billion for the Paris-based brand. When you adjust for currency fluctuations, that’s 7.9%, which Bloomberg reports as right on target with analysts’ forecast of 8%. Sales in Japan in particular were up a whopping 17%, which Bloomberg attributes to the yen’s weak position against the yuan, spurring spending from Chinese tourists shopping abroad. Hermès sales also grew 2% in the Americas in the same period.

The luxury sector is having a tough time overall in Asia, partly because of anti-extravagance regulations curtailing the market in China, but Hermès has something other brands don’t (and can’t) have: the Birkin. The bags are, of course, legendarily difficult to purchase, and the scarcity of its most famous product gives Hermès a status and exclusivity that’s unrivaled in the luxury market. When dealing with wealthy consumers who have plenty of options when it comes to spending their money, that counts for a lot.

Tag: bags Hermès Birkin

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Is This Even A Fake Birkin Bag?

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It’s amazing to see how many replica sites appear in the course of a year but not many last. I’ve recently received this review of a fake Birkin Bag and I was curious to see what this new site is all about.

Gladbuybags.com Review

You know what the thing is with these new replica websites? Even though they are not scam, most of the time they are not reputable or professional either.

This review is useful because I think many could get tempted by this replica site. They have a diverse selection of replica bags and they are pretty cheap too. I’m sure that their photos are of replica handbags and not authentic bags but at the same time they are not consistent or detailed enough.

A new friend of the blog came across this replica site in her search of a replica Hermes Birkin and here is her review:

“Hi Eva!

I recently bought my first replica bag and that’s how I found your blog. While I don’t have experience with replicas, I love fashion and I read about designer bags all the time.

I discovered this replica site through a Facebook group and I said I could give it a try because they had a 15 days return policy anyway. Now that I’ve learned more about replicas I know that the bag was actually really expensive considering the poor quality.

The experience with this site was not great which is why I even sent this Gladbuybags.com review even though I’ve already returned the bag. Paying for the bag was a hassle and contacting their customer support team was a nightmare! The payment processing page did not work when I tried to fill in my card details and it took forever to get an answer for their CS. You can only talk to them through a contact form which is really frustrating when you have a serious problem like that.

The bag arrived after 8 days and I was in shock! I don’t know what that was, but it was definitely not a Birkin! It looked so terrible, you can see it in the photos I attached! I had to pay the shipping costs and I had to send tens of messages and even threaten them to finally get my money back!

Please let other women know about this too!”

Fake Birkin Bag Front View

Fake Birkin Bag Front View

Fake Birkin Bag Inside View

Fake Birkin Bag Inside View

Fake Birkin Bag Bottom View

Fake Birkin Bag Bottom View

Fake Birkin Bag Hardware

Fake Birkin Bag Hardware

Fake Birkin Bag Defect

Fake Birkin Bag Defect

This has to be one of the worst Hermes knockoff bags I’ve ever seen! It looks more like an inspired Birkin, not a replica. I think you can find something better even in a flea market!

I’m really glad that you got your money back in the end but this replica site still looks really shady to me. I would have probably canceled my order the moment I realized they are so difficult to reach. Trustworthy replica sites are also easy to reach because they have nothing to hide. This is why I’m sure that this site will not last for long if they don’t change the way they treat their customers!

Girls, I know that things like low prices and free delivery are tempting but it’s not just about that! If they seem unprofessional and make it difficult for you to contact them, stay away!

Tag: bag fake Birkin

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$221,000 Hermès Birkin Sets New Record for Handbag Auction

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Hermes-Birkin-Record-Sale-Price

A maximum price that collectors are willing to pay for a rare Hermès Birkin surely exists, but based on a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong on Monday, we have yet to find it. One bidder is now the proud owner of the pink crocodile Birkin you see above, to the tune of $221,844.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Christie’s did not reveal the identity of the bag’s new owner, who bid via phone, although the auction house did say that the majority of the auction’s bidders were private Asian collectors. The sale included 366 lots that sold for a total of nearly $6 million, which easily beat the auction’s estimate of $3.25 million. The ever-increasing amount collectors are willing to pay for bags is surprising even to those who make a business of selling them.

The bag is made of Porosus crocodile, with diamonds set into its gold hardware. The previous auction record for a handbag was $218,500 for an evening bag owned by Elizabeth Taylor, also at a Christie’s auction, according to Business of Fashion. The previous record for an Hermès bag was over $203,000 for a similar Birkin in red from Heritage Auctions in 2011.

A price ceiling for these bags exists somewhere, but as the Asian market continues to grow, it’s unlikely that we’ve found it quite yet.

Tag: Hermès Birkin

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Heritage Auctions’ Super Rare Hermès Birkin Sold For $185,000

Hermes

Hermes-30cm-Matte-Himalayan-Nilo-Crocodile-Birkin-with-Diamond-Hardware

Not long ago, we brought you the tale of one very rare bag: the Hermès Himalayan Crocodile Birkin above, complete with pavé diamond hardware. The bag, arguably the most sought-after in the world, was about to be sold at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills, and some speculated that it might break price records. It didn’t quite make it that high, but it did sell for more than a respectable family home does in many perfectly lovely areas of our fine country.

The record-holder that the Himalayan bag needed to beat was that of another diamond-encrusted crocodile Birkin sold by Heritage, that one in glossy red. It sold for over $200,000, and I still can’t figure out exactly why; it’s a beautiful bag, for sure, but it’s not one that’s known to be rarer than any other exotic, diamond-encrusted Birkin. Perhaps the wife of an oil baron just particularly liked the color.

At any rate, the person who snapped up this Himalayan can count themselves lucky; Hermès has no plans to make additional Himalayan bags available and they’re considered extremely desirable to ultra-rich bag collectors, so snagging one at any price is something of a coup.

Tag: Hermès Birkin

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