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The English actress and Jean-Louis Dumas meet ten thousand feet above the ground. The young mother laments that she cannot find a shopping bag big enough to carry her daughter Lou’s bottles. No sooner said than done, the empathetic, clever Monsieur Dumas designs a deep and supple holdall. It has distinguishing features such as a polished plaque, a swivel clasp, and, of course, the house’s signature saddle stitching. A legend is born.
Within ten years, the Birkin bag has captured the attention of the world. The contents of a house could fit inside this 40-cm-large piece. The Birkin should be held by its two handles, with the flap inside. It comes in cowhide, ostrich leather and calfskin; and in two new dimensions: 30 and 35 centimetres, and later in 25 centimetres. The Birkin varies, yet never changes.
The Birkin bag is shaped like a simple rectangle. So why not play with its geometry? Take this Birkin shadow bag, which plays with trompe l’oeil: are the straps real or fictitious? Viewed from a perpendicular angle, the optical illusion is exquisitely unsettling. A Birkin bag of tricks, but, when all is said and done, a real bag nonetheless.
The Birkin So-Black bag was made for monochromatic blackaholics. Not only is the box calfskin in splendid black, but, thanks to a process as secret as it is innovative, all the metallic pieces – the padlocks, strap brackets, swivel clasps, keys and base studs – are in dense, shiny black. It’s only natural that the Birkin So-Black bag shows its true colour inside a black box.
Hermès has been using canvas since the beginning of the 20th century. Praised for its lightness, it is used to make beach clothes and summer hats. It is then paired with the finest leathers to give the pieces a sporty look. The Birkin flag bag recalls voyages on the great transatlantic ocean liners of the past, when discerning travellers would fix a tag of a distinctive colour to their luggage for easy identification. The contrasting canvas panel in the middle of the Birkin flag bag is a visual reminder of these crossings.
Take a scarf whose name sounds like a nursery rhyme and print it on a Birkin bag. Printed leather, that’s the trick! The original drawing has been reworked, adapted to the model – using screen-printing with one colour per screen – and assembled with minute precision so it is in perfect continuity with the bag. Lo and behold, you have it: the Birkin One Two Threeand Away We Go.
An all-too-long-forgotten, fully vegetable-tanned heritage leather is back in the saddle! For the smooth-grained version of the Birkin bag in natural cowhide, the oh-so-rare material is tanned using aniline, without any fixative, while its transparent finish reveals all the natural qualities of the cowhide. This grained leather gets a beautiful patina over time. The Birkin bag in natural cowhide comes exclusively in natural sand.