Bag­ging the Birkin

The National - News - Luxury - - THE STYLE LIST -

There is some­thing to be said for a hand­bag that is almost in­stan­ta­neously recog­nis­able with­out a brand name or logo in sight. Such is the case for the Her­mès Birkin. Named a er the ac­tress, model and singer Jane Birkin, the story goes that the Her­mès chief

ex­ec­u­tive, Jean-Louis Du­mas, cre­ated the hand­bag for Birkin a er meet­ing her on a flight to London in 1981. She com­plained that she was un­able to find a suit­able leather week­end bag, and Du­mas went on to de­sign a car­ryall tai­lored specif­i­cally to her needs. The re­sult was an item that is as much in de­mand to­day as it was over 30 years ago. With a wait­ing pe­riod of up to six years, a sin­gle bag takes 48 hours to hand­cra , which is how its he y cost is jus­ti­fied. Even a pre-loved Birkin in “very good con­di­tion” (with only the odd scuff on the cor­ners or a dark­en­ing of the han­dles) can sell for as much as US$20,000 (Dh73,461). It’s safe to say that an item like this is far more than just a bag – it’s the ul­ti­mate in­vest­ment piece. The Birkin’s un­wa­ver­ing ap­peal was re­it­er­ated dur­ing the Lux­ury Ac­ces­sories Sig­na­ture Auc­tion by the Bev­erly Hills-based Her­itage Auc­tions on Septem­ber 23, where an Her­mès Di­a­mond Hi­malayan Birkin (pic­tured) was auc­tioned for a stag­ger­ing $185,000 (Dh680,000), com­ing close to break­ing the 2011 record where a Di­a­mond Birkin was sold for $203,150 (Dh746,000) Ev­ery­thing about this bag screams lux­ury, from the 68.4 grams of 18K white gold used on the cadena lock to the 9.84 carats of round bril­liant di­a­monds that en­crust the bag it­self. In keep­ing with the Birkin’s cra sman­ship, the dye­ing process was con­ducted by hand and, for this model, which is made from Nilo crocodile skin, is said to have been a par­tic­u­larly gru­elling process due to hue vari­a­tion. For th­ese rea­sons, the bag is be­ing hailed as the “rarest and most de­sir­able hand­bag in the world”.

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