There is not one single bag more easily recognized than the HermÃ¨s Birkin bag. Since its creation in 1984, this ubiquitous bag has been seen dangling from the arm of every celebrity, socialite, singer, and trophy wife. Where did this bag come from and why has it remained so popular for over 25 years? According to fashion legend, the designer for HermÃ¨s, Jean-Louis Dumas was seated next to one of the century’s most stylish women, Jane Birkin, on a flight from Paris to London. The contents of Birkin’s bag kept spilling out and she confessed to Dumas that it was impossible to find a proper leather weekender. With that comment as inspiration, Dumas created the HermÃ¨s Birkin bag. Jane Birkin hobnobbed in the best social circles in Paris and London, played muse to countless designers, directors and musicians, and mothered two of the most recognized present-day style muses in the world: Lou Doillon and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Her influence reached far and wide. It comes as no surprise that the inspiration from the most recognizable and covetable bags in the world originated from Jane Birkin.
(Left to Right) Lou Doillon, Jane Birkin, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Maybe it’s the indelible impression left on us that the wearer of this handsome bag is wealthy, or famous, or somehow more worthy, that makes this bag so desirable. It transmits a message of sleek privilege and haughty social status. Just check out the brief celeb roster of Birkin fans (but there are literally hundreds more).
The Birkin bag used to have a 6-year wait list – the longest wait list of any item in history. In April of this year, Hermes did away with the wait-list. Even though the bag is more accessible, it’s still cost prohibitively expensive. The bags range from $9,000-$15,000 and come in calf leather, ostrich, crocodile and lizard hides. The rarer the hide, the more expensive the bag. For the prices of a Hermes Birkin you could buy a brand new mid-size sedan, a semester at Harvard, or 100 pairs of Ugg boots.
This attractive bag with its magnetic personality has inspired other bag designers. Many versions of the Birkin bag have been created and at a fraction of the cost. We have several bags that look and feel like the Birkin you’ve been searching for: