What is the story behind the Hermès Birkin bag?


Hermès Gold Birkin 35cm of Jonathan Leather with Palladium Hardware, Sothebys ©


The Hermès Birkin bag epitomizes timeless elegance and stands as a paragon of luxury in the world of high fashion. Its origins trace back to a serendipitous encounter in 1984 during a flight from Paris to London. Jane Birkin, a British actress and singer renowned for her chic style, found herself seated next to Jean-Louis Dumas, the then CEO of Hermès. During the flight, Birkin lamented the impracticality of her current handbag, expressing the need for a bag that was both stylish and functional enough to accommodate the busy life of a young mother.


Jane Birkin Portrait ©


Inspired by this conversation, Dumas sketched the first design for what would become the Birkin bag on an airplane sickness bag. His vision was to create a bag that was not only large and equipped with pockets for practicality but also exquisitely crafted to meet the standards of luxury that Hermès is known for. This collaboration resulted in a bag that combines superb functionality with sleek, sophisticated design, tailored to the needs of the discerning modern woman.

Atelier Cuir Pantin. Photo by Johannes Von Saurma. ©


Crafted from the finest materials and constructed with meticulous attention to detail, each Birkin bag is hand-made by a single artisan. This dedication to craftsmanship ensures that every Birkin is a unique piece of art, warranting up to a week of labor. The Birkin’s design and its limited production reinforce its exclusivity and desirability among luxury aficionados.

Hermes Luggage Advertising, 1952 ©

Since its debut, the Birkin has not just been a staple among fashion elites but has also emerged as a symbol of wealth and status, quietly appreciated by those who value understated luxury. Its classic design has made it a preferred choice for anyone looking to invest in a handbag that transcends seasonal trends, offering both functionality and elegance.

The enduring appeal of the Birkin bag is not just in its aesthetic allure but also in its capacity to serve as a sound investment. The bag appreciates over time, often fetching higher prices on the secondary market than its original sale price, making it a wise addition to any luxury investment portfolio.


1930s advertising by Georges Lepape, Paris, Draeger for Hermes ©

In the realms of fashion and luxury, the Hermès Birkin bag remains a definitive icon, embodying the sophistication and timeless elegance that appeal to the true connoisseurs of discreet luxury.