Daily Archives: June 12, 2011

SOLD to the young lady in the third row

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping”   Bo Derek, American actress and model, 1956 –

Would you like a Hermes handbag?  Preferably a Birkin crocodile or even a Grace Kelly crocodile bag?  Well, sorry ladies, Hermes has a waiting list of five years – yes five years.  So put your name down now if you want one.Birkin Crocodile Handbag

But there is a way to gain instant gratification.  Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s in London auctioned some of these designer must have pieces last year.

The Hermes Birkin has a unique history, as it was named for Jane Birkin. She is a British singer and actress who absolutely adored her version of the Hermes handbag, called the Kelly (named for Grace Kelly).  Apparently,  while on a flight from Paris to London, her bag opened, spilling the contents onto the floor of the plane. The then CEO of Hermes, Jean-Louis Dumas was on the same plane and talked with Jane Birkin about what she really wanted in a bag.  The designers got to work and Dumas presented Birkin with a trademark Hermes handbag that has become one of the most sought-after bags in the entire world.

So back to the auctions.  On May 24 this year, Vogue reported “Here’s a great opportunity to seize: if you dream about owning an Hermès Kelly or a Birkin but you don’t have the patience to wait in the list (it lasts for years…) of the French maison, here’s the solution. Tomorrow Christie’s in London will put up for auction a good 78 Hermès bags, among which are  Kellys and Birkins.

The prices start from about the 3-4 thousand pounds that it usually takes to buy the well-known bag made famous in the Fifties by Grace Kelly, to the around 30,000 pounds for a Birkin in crocodile. There are many colours offered, from red to caramel colour, to pink to emerald green, two or more shades. The same goes for the different kinds of leathers, from ostrich to crocodile; different qualities that you can admire closely at the Hermès website, even making the page your own screensaver.

Among the oldest bags to be sold tomorrow, there is a Kelly that dates back to the early Sixties. Created in brown using leather from the Alligator Mississippiensis, it’s put to auction at an estimated price of 7,000-8,000 pounds. From the same decade there is also one of the few bags that is neither a Birkin nor a Kelly. It’s a Sac Mallette in black crocodile with an inside pocket to carry jewels, covered in burgundy velvet, marked with the initials E.M., estimated at around 8,000-10,000 pounds.”

I later found an item in a London paper that reported the following sale:

And this little bit to titillate your green-eyed monster (perhaps)

“Former Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham, has over 100 Hermes bags. These bags are valued at over two million dollars. While many women don’t have quite this many, there are several other celebrities that have a dozen or so in their wardrobes. The Hermes handbag is so well-known that when Lindsay Lohan recently had hers stolen at an airport, it actually made the news.”

So get out your chequebooks there is a bag with your name on it out there.  But mine is more likely to come from Oroton.  But I do own a prized Louis Vuitton purse bought for me in Paris by the son of a friend.  He gave it to me as a thank you for being kind to his mother.

Louis Vuitton Purse
It is particularly prized because both he and his mother are now dead and this is a constant memory of them both.

I think this quote is apt on this subject.  It is of course, from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest:

Lady Bracknell: Mr. Worthing. I must confess that I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred in a handbag, whether it have handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life which reminds one of the worst excesses of the French revolution, and I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to?