Did Jane really design the Birkin ??? Or is that an urban myth ?

  1. I saw an interview with Jane Birkin where she told of arriving on an airplane ca. 1985 with stuff falling out all over, because her bag would not hold it all, sat next to one of the Dumas, and she spoke of sketching out a bag for him (that would meet her needs) . This is the famous story of the 1985ish birth of the Birkin. So, I've always thought that the Birkin bag dates back to around 1985. But, here is an advert that is clearly ca 1950, with something that looks curiously like a Birkin (the item description labels it incorrectly as a Kelly bag)

    French Ebay no 270023335057

    The bag is slightly different from the modern Birkin, but has the characteristic straps, and the flap that slips around the handles allowing you to carry it strapped or unstrapped (unlike the Kelly).

    Basically, it's an early Birkin.

    So, does the basic design predate Jane Birkin's famous 1985 airplane ride ?
    I thought the design was created for her, rather than being an existing one that was changed a bit and relabeled with a celebrity name .

  2. It's not an urban myth. The classic HAC, (Haut Au Courroies) was the inspiration for the modern Birkin. So, no the design was not completely new. She found the HAC's handles to be too short and the bag too deep - hence the modifications found in the new Birkin.
  3. Can one call the HAC a Birkin, or it's the HAC Birkin, or just HAC, or early Birkin. I'm a little confused. =)
  4. The only difference I've heard with this story is the HE sketched up a design for her, based on the HAC - not the other way around (she'd have to be a design expert to have sketched up a Birkin, in my opinion!!).
  5. ^ Right. He sketched it.
  6. hum,,... research time!
  7. Here we go, that was quick!

    Have you ever wondered how a piece of stitched leather makes it to cult status, with fashionistas the world over clamouring for one of their own? How is it that one bag can capture the public's imagination to such an extent and inspire legions of copycats?

    Fashionweekdaily.com went back in time to the roots of the legendary Birkin bag. According to some, it all started when actress Jane Birkin spilled the contents of her too-small bag onto the Hermes designer on a plane back in 1981, inspiring the designer to create the roomy new model.

    In 1985, Barbara Guggenheim had begun collecting Kelly and Birkin bags, even before the bags had achieved the status of it-bag. In Mexico City, Mrs Guggenheim bought four Birkins and three Kellys. Many of us can only dream of this shopping scenario.

    In the hit tv series, Sex and the City, Kim Cattrall's character, publicist Samantha Jones, claimed: "This bag screams, 'you've made it!'", catapulting the bag's status into an even higher stratosphere.

    A few years later, both Martha Stewart and Lil'Kim arrived at their respective trials touting the ultra-luxurious totes. Stewart's lawyers filed for a new trial when it was revealed that the jury had discussed the price of her bag. At around EUR 4,000, it is little wonder the jury had such a reaction to Stewart's arm candy.

    Last year, Jane Birkin herself was spotted at the Gaultier couture show with a Birkin bag. The media went wild. Earlier this year, in an interview with the New Statesmen, Birkin said: "People always want to talk about it (the bag). I just don't understand. It can get a bit much to be upstaged by a bag." Amen to that.
  8. The design is created for her but not she design the birkin.
  9. I absolutely confirm this. I heard Jane explaining this in TV interviews several times. Jane birkin was famous in France for her hippy look in the late seventies. This included a huge wicker basket she could not get rid of and that was always stuffed and causing her tendonitis (jane loves to tell her little stories when doing interviews). She happened to board on the same airplane as one of Hermès' managers who saw her struggling to put the basket in one the luggage boxes above the seats. Half of the contents of the basket fell on the floor.

    As a good gentleman he helped her pick up the mess, introduced himself and said "Oh, Madame, Hermès has to help you solve this problem! We'll design a bag for you so this does not happen anymore". And they came up with the now mythical bag named after the lady who inspired it.

    I cannot forget this story whenever I wear a birkin. This bag was designed to be worn as an overstuffed wicker basket that does not fall over and lose its contents. With Style!!!

    Another nice "H" tale. Merci Hermès!:tender:
  10. Thanks for clearing that up. I always heard that Jane had a KELLY that day on the plane and said it wasn't big enough to hold everything and that is how the birkin came to be.
  11. what a interesting thread.
  12. The old advert that I found was for a HAC - did not know what they were until I saw it..

    I thought the Birkin was this REVOLUTIONARY NEW design but really it is just a modified HAC !

  13. Regarding the tendonitis... I read only 2-3 months ago that JB no longer uses a Birkin because IT gave her tendonitis, she uses a sporran as a purse !

    FYI a sporran is the Scottish purse that men wear at the front of a kilt, typically with gangling horse hair tassles

    Who knows the truth ??

  14. That's what a sporran is. But Jane Birkin needs to be fair. Have you seen her Birkin? She packs so much stuff into it, the poor bag looks like it's going to explode. That's the reason she has tendonitis. Her bag must weight 30 pounds fully loaded.
  15. ^ no kidding!