Bagging the Birkin
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”.