Jan 31, 2016

The Ironic Iconic Hermes Birkin Bag

So, I was reading up on how this world famous Birkin bag came into existence... and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the fashion icon Jane Birkin happened to sit next to the CEO of Hermes bags one day, on an airplane ride to France or something.

She was frantically rummaging around her everyday bag, but couldn't find what she was looking for. Monsieur Hermes CEO told her maybe she needed a bag with pockets and section dividers. She agreed and requested a bag to be made by Hermes...

Apparently, every year since, Hermes made a new design of Birkin bag and sent her one as a gift, but she didn't keep a collection of them like Victoria Beckham who is reputed to own the largest number of Hermes bags... Jane just gave the old one away when she got the new one.

Jane's second husband with the Birkin bag

Jane Birkin then & now, and the black Birkin

* * *

Now, what I find so smashingly ironic about this whole affair is that Birkin's personal style and her style philosophy are so counter culture to everything that Hermes as a brand stands for and promotes! 

Jane Birkin's sense of style and aesthetic preferences run more towards being free-spirited, and has a laid back French chic quality to it. She was a parallel icon to Brigitte Bardot for letting her hair all loose and unkempt. She often walked the streets barefoot, also like Bardot. She would often forgo wearing a bra even. 

Suffice to say, we find Jane's efforts to make peace with the Birkin bag that Hermes created... Some call it, "defacing the Hermes bag," others call it, "personalizing" or "customizing" the bag. But whichever it may be, it is clear that she was not comfortable with carrying the Hermes Birkin bag as is. And she was vocal about it too.

Jane Birkin with her "defaced Birkin" bag - front view

Jane Birkin with her basket bag, then the "defaced Birkin" bag - back view

She is said to have asked for the bag to be made of other materials:

“I keep saying to Herm├Ęs to make it out of plastic or cardboard,
then it wouldn’t be so heavy. But if people want to go for the real thing, fine. 
If they go for copies, that’s fine too. I really don’t think it matters...”

I think this just shows how Birkin would have preferred it. After she carried the Birkin bag and having lived with it. And it's interesting too, how even though Birkin herself would have wanted a different version of a Birkin bag, the Birkin bag that Hermes came up with is now considered the most economically investment-worthy designer bag... And how so many Hollywood celebrities are into collecting it, and how they see it as a gem de la gem of their wardrobe estate!

* * *

So, this last bit here then, is what I personally felt was in a way even more fascinating than the Birkin bag itself, in terms of a personal style statement that is... :)

Jane looking lovely & cute with her favorite basket and her signature bang hair

Birkin and her basket, all pedestrian...

Birkin and her mega watt smile & the same basket bag...

Jane, the baby, and the basket bag!

Jane, the singer-husband, and the basket bag... by the beach.

The moment Jane made history at an award ceremony in her sheer dress bra-free, with her basket bag! Tell Mr Obama that THIS is AUDACITY! #freethenipplebegunbyJaneBirkin #datBasketBagGoesToRedCarpetEvent #JaneBirkinTheStyleRevolutionary

Same as above. This girl knew how to break the rules & took her everyday bag to a paparazzi event! And did it with so much charm, style, and grace! Even humor!

Man, Birkin, and Basket Bag - in snow.

OK. I saved this for the last.
I find this image so iconic of a Parisian lifestyle...
It's full of cheer, wholesome food, and the basket symbolizes that odd chic French charm... Well. It does to me. :) 

And yeah. It has some pretty iconic lovers too.
So all is good in this universe.

MarsGirl Designs

from thawing Seoul ...

PS. Here is a version of Hermes Kelly bag, that I think at least has elements that Birkin originally is seen to have enjoyed:

Birkin bags made of basket weaves!

----------------------------------------------------------------Further Reading & Sources:

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