The luxury market, particularly that which deals with accessories and handbags, is saturated with products and collections – ranging from the functional to the decorative and every in between. One collection which stands out, however, is the Hermès range of Birkin bags – now available in a variety of sizes and colours, and with all manner of features and finishes which only serve to make each new release more coveted than the last.
But what is it about the Hermès Birkin that makes it such a classic in the luxury market – and how does the story behind the bag contribute towards its valuable and coveted status today among high-end and investment buyers?
The story behind the Hermès Birkin bag
Released in 1984 following a conversation during a flight, between then-Chairman of Hermès Jean-Louis Dumas and actress Jane Birkin, the Birkin handbag was the first of its kind to bridge the gap between functionality for young mothers and intricate style for fashionistas and accessory lovers.
With a multitude of pockets and storage spaces, the Birkin was modelled on Jane Birkin’s ideal handbag sketch which sat between the Hermès Kelly and a small suitcase in size, and which allowed for the bag to be carried either on the wrist or in the hand owing to the accessible handles. Crucially, it focussed as much on function as it did on design and aesthetic, never detracting from the high-end style and look of the bag but rather combining Hermès’ attention to detail with the need of young mothers and everyday women.
Why the Hermès Birkin is so popular
A great deal of Hermès as a brand in the 1990s lies in the release of the Birkin bag, which not only demonstrated a shift in Hermès’ approach to modern fashion but which also broadened the brand’s customer base and made the concept of a Hermès bag more accessible and more attractive to women. This shift towards making luxury accessories more functional, alongside the limited release of each new collection as has become the standard across designer brands, means that every new Hermès Birkin which enters circulation is coveted and high in demand among buyers. And this, as we know, drives value and prices skywards.
The other factor which makes the Hermès Birkin such a popular classic on the market is the incredible celebrity and A-list following it has nurtured over the years – not only from Jane Birkin herself but among names like Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian whose pictures with their Birkin’s only serve to increase demand further.
The Hermès bag is a timeless classic
In short, one need only look at the design, shape, and style of the Hermès Birkin to understand how it has become somewhat of a classic in both the brand’s full collection and in the world of luxury bags and accessories.
The shape and style of the bag have barely changed during the course of its history to date, although Hermès has paid close attention to both colour and fabric as well as size in creating new ranges and releasing new models. Hardware is something which often commands significant change, particularly among more exclusive ranges with Hermès no stranger to embellished clasps and diamante upgrades. Similarly, the very fabric with which a Hermès bag is made can transform its place in the market, with some of the colours much rarer and thus more coveted than others. But despite all of this, the shape of the Birkin is recognisable and commands the kind of aesthetic presence and beauty that means it is unlikely to move or change its position as one of the top-ranked luxury handbags available.
For buyers and those looking for their own Hermès Birkin, the subtle but significant variations mean that every Birkin on the market needs to be individually valued and authenticated, paying specific attention to the factors which prove the authenticity of a Hermès. After all, with such incredible investment potential and a famous design which has barely changed during its decades in circulation, the Hermès Birkin is a bag which is often exposed to fakes – meaning buyers and sellers alike need to be vigilant when dealing with resellers and buyers.