9 Things you didn’t know about the Hermés Birkin

19 February 2016

1. We have to thank Jane Birkin's husband for the Birkin bag
We all know the classic story: Jane Birkin sat next to Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas on an airplane, when all her things fell out of her bag. This strange case of serendipity resulted in the birth of the Birkin bag. However, the details on why she was carrying this unpractical bag are often left out. In 2012, Jane Birkin told the London Telegraph that her husband Jacques Doillon had run over the woven basket she usually carried, two days before the flight. Read more about the classic story in our Masterclass.

2. The original design of the Birkin bag was sketched on a barf bag.
Crazy to think that the world's most coveted bag, started its life on a brown paper bag. Not quite so chic...

3. Jane Birkin only uses one Birkin at a time
Nowadays, the Hermès Birkin has become a symbol of extreme wealth and status. Hermès lovers around the world collect Kelly's and Birkins, like one would do with postage stamps. However, the woman who inspired the famous bag has an entirely different approach when it comes the Birkin bag. Jane Birkin uses just one Birkin at a time and will carry it until it's completely wrecked. She also decorates her bags with patches, charms and other personalizations to make the bag less formal and in her own words: less snobbish. 

4. Birkins have been made in more than 20 shades of blue alone
When you think of the Hermés Birkin you probably immediately think of it in a nude or black color. But the Birkin is available in every color of the rainbow. According to the BBC, in the 31 years since its debut, the bag has been produced in at least 25 shades of blues, including popular classics like Blue Jean, Mykonos and Bleu Roi.


5. Jane Birkin receives a nominal royalty for the use of her name.
Originally, Jane Birkin was satisfied with a free Birkin bag once a year, in exchange for the use of her name (wouldn't we all be?). Today, she is still not a paid ambassador or a face of the French fashion house, but receives a yearly payment to compensate the use of the name Birkin. Philantropist Jane Birkin donates this sum to the charities of her choice. According to the Telegraph, Jane Birkin received €38,819. 

6. A Birkin takes 48 work hours to make
All Hermés bags, are made by a single artisan in one of Hermés’s ateliers. It takes 48 hours to finish a single bag. This does not mean the bag is finished in two days, but in 48 work hours. So on a full-time schedule it would take more than a week.

7. The most expensive Birkin ever auctioned cost almost a quarter million
The most expensive Birkin ever, was a crocodile leather piece with white gold hardware and diamond studs. The bag was auctioned off in 2011 for an amount of €189.842. 

8. Birkins are not as scarce than you think 
The story goes that there is a never-ending waiting list to buy a Birkin bag, which is partly true. As sometimes you can just walk into a store for the first time, ask nicely and get lucky. But you can also skip the waiting list on our platform. We always have a range of Birkins online!

9. The 'Himalayan' Birkin is actually not from the Himalaya
The name Himalayan, which refers to the super-rare Hermès Himalayan Crocodile Birkin, isn't in any way connected to the origin of the leather. The name actually referes to the bag's unique colors, which are said to resemble a snow-topped (Himalayan) mountain.