Hermès "Birkin", 30 cm
Hermès Birkin is not a bag, it's a work of art.
Some may think it's a daring statement: however, if you're eager to know why recent surveys show that this iconic fashion gem is a better investment than gold or stocks, here is how and why Birkin turned into a status symbol.
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Having a Birkin in your hands means getting in touch with a universe of peaceful luxury.
It creates that kind of cocooning, cozy ambiance that probably cuddles the richest artists - the same ambiance that, on a morning of 1981, was surrounding the inside compartment of the airplane where was seated a thin French girl with bangs, blue eyes and a straw bag filled with its personal world.
Trying to squeeze her messy bag above her head, everything falls to the ground.
She - Jane Birkin, singer Serge Gainsbourg's muse - sighs and puffs, exchanging a glance with a classy travel mate next to her.
"Travel bag are not even nice, but nice bags are not spacious enough", she mutters.
The elegant stranger smiles at her: it's Jean-Louis Dumas, CEO of the luxury brand Hermès.
"She needs a weekend bag with pockets", he thinks.
It's when the collaboration between Jane and Monsieur Dumas kicks off. Three years later, "the Birkin" is released - "bigger than a Kelly, smaller than Serge [Gainsbourg]'s suitcase".
The inspiration linked to Jane Birkin, associated with very high quality standards and with Hermès' prestigious reputation, made the demand for this bag steadily higher than the offer. Thus getting your hands on a Birkin may be quite tricky.
Birkin prices for new models can reach very high, hardly affordable prices, according to design and leathers used to create it.
However, visiting a boutique and cutting a check is not enough: Hermès decided to avoid producing big quantities of products in order to preserve their manufacturing and design quality.
Consider that every Birkin bag is hand-made from scratch by a single artisan, for an average 48 hours of work on a single piece. It is estimated that there are only 200 thousand models in the entire world.
Contrary to trendy accessories that depreciate season after season, the Birkin value keeps rising every year.
It's paramount at this point that having a Birkin doesn't mean only showing off a beautiful bag designed in each and every detail and manufactured with the best leathers.
Wearing a Birkin - a day bag - means owning a cult piece, surrounding yourself of an aura of extreme luxury with nothing trashy about it: it doesn't show any evident brand logo - it is stamped only once on the front central part of the bag.
Handles allow to wear it by hand or on the wrist. At the bottom, they have 7 or 8 distinctive hidden dots that underline the authenticity of the product, along with the symbol testifying the year of production and the identification number of the artisan who made the bag, stamped behind the left sangle.
Hardware includes a precious lock hanging from the rectangular plate (touret) and two little hooks (pontet) used to place the sangles.
Other distinctive details include the tiret, a thin piece of leather tied around the handle terminating with the clochette (cover for the lock keys) and the flap divided into three parts by two triangle-shaped triangles under the end of the handles.
Unlike many other bags, the inside is entirely made of leather and perfectly roomy, with two pockets (a zippered and an open one). On the bottom you'll find the traditional clou, metal studs allowing to place the bag steadily upright.
Hermès has been producing Birkins in many types of leathers, from the basic to the most luxury ones: the most popular leathers include Togo leather - calfskin with a grain pattern, Epsom leather - calfskin with a finer pattern, and Swift leather, particularly soft and with a delicate appearance. The rarest and most luxury leathers include Nile crocodile, ostrich and lizard leather.
Dimensions vary as well. The most requested ones are 30 cm, 35 cm and 40 cm, to pick according to your body type and purpose.
Birkin is such a breath-taking beauty with a fascinating story, but it still is a luxury piece and a true investment.
As such it can't be a trivial purchase on a whim, but it should be made after thoughts and evaluations.
Those who choose to become proud owner of such a valuable item may not want to wait for years (or forever) in the boutique's waiting lists.
This is why often anspiring owners of Birkins address themselves towards the vintage market: when you see a Birkin you just fall in love and can't wait to have it.
Buying a vintage or pre-loved Birkin means avoiding to wait but also, as surveys show, being far-sighted.
Hermès produces Birkin in limited quantities, in several different precious colours and leathers: some can only be found on the vintage market, like dove gray and étoupe.
Moreover, there is no doubt that buying a vintage Birkin means having an item designed with the precision and care of the past, the value of which is destined to rise more and more with time.
Since it is a luxury piece, you should keep in mind that entering the vintage market and entrusting any seller is highly risky.
It is useful to always remember to pay attention to those who assure big stocks of such a precious product, and address instead those who have a long experience in the field: this will ensure you will have a seller who is able to provide an authentic product after a scrupulous analysis and you'll always be aware there have been other satisfied customers before you.
Are you thinking it's complicated? Maybe it is: but the best things are those we long for, obtained choosing the difficult path.
Here at A.N.G.E.L.O. Vintage we know that very well and we have been working in the vintage field with passion for 40 years professionally and efficiently. In our boutiques and in our online store, you'll find the most stunning vintage original Birkin bags, found with care and attention by our experts.
Having a piece of art like a Birkin is a luxury and a pleasure you need to try at least once in your lifetime.