The History of the Hermes Birkin Bag, Here’s The Answer

The Birkin bag’s history is one of folklore and chance. Hermes was already well-established as a house of luxury leather products, catering to the needs of its elite clients before the Birkin bag. Of course, with the Birkin’s dominance, Hermes has become the foremost luxury handbag design house – the creator of the most wanted handbags on the planet.

This story begins in 1983, with a chance meeting between It-Girl Jane Birkin and Jean-Louis Dumas, the artistic director and CEO of Hermes. The Jane Birkin bag began in the clouds and finally reached stratospheric heights, with no signs of slowing. Continue reading to learn more about the amazing Birkin bag history With Teeanime.

Who is Jane Birkin?

Birkin and Gainsbourg

Jane Birkin is an English-French model, actor, and singer. She was a true fashion icon from the 1960s to the 1980s, combining natural beauty with a whimsical, androgynous style and a forthright sexuality. Birkin rose to prominence as a result of her 10-year relationship with Serge Gainsbourg, a French singer/writer/director/poet who is widely considered as one of the most prominent French celebrities in pop culture. Charlotte Gainsbourg, an actress/singer, is the couple’s daughter.

The Origin of the Jane Birkin Bag

On a late-night trip from Paris to London, fashion history was altered. The details differ in the various versions of the story. According to handbag mythology, Jane Birkin was upgraded to first class in 1983, adjacent to Jean-Louis Dumas, Hermès’ artistic director and CEO at the time. She was carrying her trademark wicker basket, which held her personal belongings.

All of the contents of her straw bag spilled in front of Dumas as she placed it in the overhead compartment, including her Hermès diary. Dumas aided her in gathering her belongings. Dumas jokingly stated that she required a handbag with pockets. The actress said that if Hermès created a large everyday purse that could accommodate everything a busy mother carried, she would abandon her distinctive giant basket in its place. The actress then revealed how difficult it was for her to locate a bag that was spacious, secure, and beautiful.

Dumas sketched the first sketches of the Birkin bag on an aircraft sickness bag, integrating feedback from Birkin. Such a lowly beginning in the history of the Birkin bag, the luxury handbag that would one day rule the world!

First Birkin bag released in 1984. Its roomy inside and lock make it a great choice for jet-setters. Clean lines, simplistic look, and informal flair mirrored Birkin’s style. She personalized a 40cm Birkin with stickers. It cost $2000. Jane Birkin sold her original, well-worn bag for $162,000 to aid Japan earthquake recovery.

The Birkin bag is now available in 25cm, 30cm, 35cm, and 40cm sizes, as well as a range of leathers and exotic skins. Many limited edition models, such as the Cargo Birkin and Hermès picnic bags made of woven wicker with leather detailing, appear to have been inspired by Birkin over the years.

The Early History of the Birkin Bag

It’s hard to imagine now, but the public’s initial reaction to the Birkin bag was underwhelming. The Jane Birkin bag did not change the fact that Chanel bags ruled the market in the 1980s. Hermès’ famous quality and the meet-cute origin narrative fell flat. The bag inspired by It Girl Jane Birkin did not become the It Bag until the 1990s.

The early history of the Birkin bag reveals that at the turn of the century, the bag’s popularity was skyrocketing. It was a well-known status symbol. In August 2001, an episode of Sex and the City catapulted Birkin’s profile into the stratosphere. When Samantha said, “It’s not a bag – it’s a Birkin!” demand for the expensive purse spiked.

Special Edition Birkin Bag History

Since its debut, the Jane Birkin bag has been available in a variety of luxurious leathers and hues. Brand VIPs routinely modify the Birkin, often incorporating several colors and leathers. These Hermès Special Order (HSS) bags are usually made from exotic skins such as gleaming alligator, ostrich, or crocodile. All are in high demand.

The most sought-after models in Birkin bag history, however, are the limited edition versions. These designs are available in extremely limited quantities as part of Hermès’ strategic scarcity, which drives both demand and price.

2009 Shadow Birkin

The Shadow Birkin was the first limited edition of this model. It came out in 2009. It is an open tote bag that looks like the Birkin. Instead, in a clever trompe-l’oeil effect, the front of the bag’s leather is raised to make it look like the top flap and loose sangles are there. The back of the bag has an impression of the clochette. The Shadow Birkin was first made in a 35cm size, but in 2020, it came out in a 25cm size.

2010 So Black Birkin and Kelly Bags

In 2010, Jean Paul Gaultier came out with the beautiful So Black line of Birkin and Kelly bags. With a PVD coating, the Ruthenium metal hardware is almost black, giving the bags an interesting and edgy look. The Birkin and Kelly bags from So Black came in a special black box with black dust bags and tissue paper. They were made in Birkin sizes 30cm and 35cm and Kelly sizes 32cm and 35cm from box calf leather and matte alligator. There was also one called “Kelly Cut.” The So Black style of Birkin bag is still one of the most popular.

2010 The Himalaya Birkin

At first, the Himalaya bags with the ombre effect were made in secret and only given to the most important people in the brand. The Himalaya Birkin came out in 2010. It was made from Niloticus Crocodile skin that was hand-dyed to look like the Himalaya mountain range. The most expensive is the Himalaya Diamond bag, which has white gold hardware covered in diamonds.

2012 Club Birkin

On the front of the sporty Club Birkin, there are three vertical stripes of different leather. In some bags, the center stripes may be made of skins from faraway places.

2012 The Ghillies Birkin

The Ghillies Birkin has a complementing leather trim that frames the top and bottom of the bag, as well as the front and back. The Ghillies get their name from a form of Scottish men’s dress shoe with tiny perforations known as “broguing.”

2017 The Touch Birkin

The 2017 Touch Birkin has exotic skin on the flap, handles, and straps. The bag’s body is usually made of Togo or ostrich leather. Designed to deliver a “touch” of exotics at a more accessible price, these limited edition bags rapidly challenged exotic Birkin secondary market pricing.

2018 Tressage Birkin

The Tressage Birkin’s front has a multicolored leather panel.

2019 The Faubourg Birkin

The Faubourg Birkin is a piece of art and one of the most stunning Birkin styles. It is modeled after the Hermès flagship store at 24 Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Leather is used for the arches, awnings, stonework, and roof. The Faubourg Birkin is available in four colorways: day, evening, dawn, and midnight. The smallest Birkin is 20cm in length. In 2011, the Micro Birkin was produced as an accessory.

2020 The Sunrise Rainbow Birkin

This limited edition Birkin uses the Seller Birkin. It contains slightly arched color blocking in four bright colors, evoking a rainbow.

2020 Cargo Birkin

The 2020 Cargo Birkin, which was first presented in the 35cm size, is made of lightweight canvas and is trimmed in leather. The five roomy outer pockets and retractable cup holder appear to have been inspired directly by the original purpose of the Birkin Bag. The next year, a 25cm variant was released.

2021 Picnic Birkin

The woven wicker Birkin was introduced 10 years after the Picnic Kelly. This unique limited edition seems inspired by Birkin’s origins.

2021 The Birkin 3EN1

This fun version of the classic Birkin has a canvas pouch that can be taken off and taken with the front flap. When you grab the pochette, you can run a quick errand or use it as a clutch for the evening. When you take out the pouch, the main bag turns into an open tote. If you take off the pouch, you have a classic Birkin bag. The three-in-one design is a clear nod to the fact that the original bag was made to be useful.

We’ll keep adding to the history of special edition Birkin bags as new styles come out.

The Birkin Sellier

The Birkin bag was designed in the Retourne style, which is more informal than the Kelly bag’s Sellier style. The bag’s laid-back feel boosted its appeal.

In 2014, the Birkin Sellier was introduced. The smaller bags were perfect for nighttime. Limited-edition Faubourg Birkin was structured. The Birkin response is huge. It’s too early to tell if this style will become a Birkin classic.

Shopping for a Birkin

The Jane Birkin bag is part of fashion history and continues to be a “status” purse, with greater popularity than ever. As part of their scarcity marketing strategy, Hermes only produces a limited number of Birkin bags per year (and they’re tight-lipped about the exact quantity!). This is why, with the exception of their most elite VIP customers, purchasing a Birkin from a boutique requires hoop-jumping.

Madison Avenue Couture has established its business on removing the difficulty and frustration of purchasing a Hermès bag directly from Hermès. We are America’s largest and most trusted supplier of genuine Hermès bags. Except for a few historical models, every bag we sell is brand new and triple authenticated. Each item in stock and ready to ship right away. If you don’t see the size, color, or limited edition style you’re looking for, our concierge department will gladly locate it for you.