Hermes in print


Apr 8, 2006
I know there is a french vogue issue floating around out there with an article on Hermes - and i love love love when i catch one of their purses in one of my magazines. If anyone else would be interested, we could try to post pics or mentions of hermes in magazines or papers here. I got my sept. vogue au today. i was flipping the pages and found the paris bombay on page 85 at the top of the list of "the latest pedigree bags":
"Paris Bombay leather handbag, inspired by traditional doctors' bags, in three sizes, from $4,845" (AU)

the pic isn't very strong, with text over it (how could they!) but i will try to post it tomorrow if i can.


Seeking Simplicity
Mar 9, 2006
That was an interesting article but, in my opinion, a little harsh on Victoria Beckham. I don't always care for the way VB dresses but I have never considered her the "wrong kind of person" to carry Hermes and Chanel. I have always thought she was an attractive young woman and never considered her trashy (though sometimes she is a little tacky but I think we all have those days) and I think the bags look lovely on her.

Grands Fonds

Alive and Kicking
May 29, 2006
dianagrace said:
That was an interesting article but, in my opinion, a little harsh on Victoria Beckham. I don't always care for the way VB dresses but I have never considered her the "wrong kind of person" to carry Hermes and Chanel. I have always thought she was an attractive young woman and never considered her trashy (though sometimes she is a little tacky but I think we all have those days) and I think the bags look lovely on her.

I agree, I like VB, but I cringe when I see L.Lo and the Olsens carrying Hermes.......sorry, I sound like SUCH a snob, but they look so....well......grotty!!!!!

Ms. Twilly

Aug 4, 2006
dianagrace said:
I agree with you, I do not care for any of these girls I don't like the Hilton girls either.
The good news is that (I think) Lohan and Hilton have such fickle taste - they'll move onto something else... VB on the otherhand seems to have a certain amount of style that the others lack.

gigi leung

Feb 14, 2006
This article appeared in Singapore's Straits Times on Feb 16, 2004. The prices are in S$. Some of the details are out-dated - e.g. Bottega now have their own store in Singapore. Enjoy! :flowers:

by Lionel Seah

JEWELLERY designer Jaime Choo loves bags.

But it is only the super expensive Birkin bag from French fashion house Hermes that tickles her fancy. We're talking about $10,000 bags. And that's the cheapest version. The exorbitant price tag and an average two-year waiting list worldwide haven't stopped her from snapping up five Birkins from stores here and in Los Angeles. She has spent about $50,000 on them since 2002.

A 35cm-wide Hermes (pronounced air-mess) Birkin can cost anything from $10,000 if it is made in calf leather to $30,000 in crocodile leather. 'It's the Rolls-Royce of bags,' says Ms Choo, 29. 'It is roomy and I like its quality, workmanship and rarity.' Financial adviser Ponz Foo, 28, is also not fazed by the price tag. Impressed by the care and attention to detail which the 157-year-old family-owned French brand pays to its products, she has since spent $20,000 on two Birkins.

The women are not alone in their obsession with the Hermes Birkin. One Singaporean woman, who refuses to be named or interviewed, owns more than 80 Birkins. Sources tell LifeStyle that her Birkins are kept in their individual dust bags which sit inside signature Hermes orange boxes. Pasted on each box is a Polaroid photograph of the bag inside, for easy identification.

Her babies are stored in a specially designed, air-conditioned 20-sq m room - about a quarter of the size of a four-room HDB flat. It is estimated that she paid a mind-blowing $1 million for them.

Baby beginnings

THE Birkin is not a new creation. It has its roots in 1984, when Hermes designed a bag for British actress-singer Jane Birkin, who is most famous for the song Je T'aime, a breathy duet with French composer Serge Gainsbourg. In fact, it was meant as a bag to carry the accoutrements of the actress' baby daughter.

The design wasn't even unique. The Birkin is based on the Haut a Courroie, an Hermes carrier for men which has been around since the 1900s. Perhaps because of its price and quality, the Birkin became a symbol of stealth wealth and status, and has always been popular with high society women.

Two years ago, an episode of HBO's Sex And The City catapulted the Birkin and its lore into mainstream consciousness. The character Samantha Jones, desperate to get a Birkin, jumped queue by dropping the name of her client, actress Lucy Liu. She got the bag, but was caught in her lie by Liu, who made a cameo on the show.

Today, the bag counts as fans celebrities like Kate Moss, Madonna and Queen Noor of Jordan. So popular is it that it has spawned more copies than the American Idol franchise. (See box story.)

Says Ms Foo: 'Frankly, I've come across more copies than the real thing.' To the untrained eye, first impressions of the Birkin may disappoint. The leather bag has rounded double handles, a fold-over top, a belt-like closure with a lock and key, and metal studs at the base. It looks quite ordinary.

But each Birkin is handcrafted. It is said that, on average, each bag requires more than 2,600 hand-stitches and about 18 hours to assemble. That is also how long it takes to manufacture a BMW, wrote the British Financial Times last year. The bag is available in different sizes (from 30 to 40cm in width), leathers (calf and crocodile) and metal clasps (silver, gold or palladium).

In Tokyo, Hermes' best-performing Asian market, about 40,000 orders for a Birkin were made in 2002, with an average five-year wait. This means that if you had ordered one that year, you'd only get it in 2007. Hermes Singapore declined to comment for this story, but it is believed that Singaporeans who want one now will have to wait till 2006 for it. Clients comprise mainly professional women from their mid-20s onwards.

Timeless appeal

MANY fans justify the hefty price tag by pointing out that they can choose the size, leather and metal they want. But the irony is that customers don't always get what they order. This is because the bags are handmade by only 200 leather workers in Hermes' atelier in Pantin, just outside Paris.

The quantity and quality of bags produced are also very much dependent on the availability of the leathers. Birkin customer Linda Tan, 34, says most women end up taking whatever bag is assigned to them rather than subjecting themselves to another long wait. The public relations manager has four Birkins.

Says Ms Choo: 'It's precisely because we have to queue for one and pay $10,000 for it which makes it a must-have. If it's really easy to get, we won't be as keen.' Apart from that, Ms Foo says the Birkin's appeal is simply in its timeless design.' After a couple of seasons, other seasonal must-have fashion bags almost inevitably end up on the sale rack. But not the Birkin,' she says.

Mr Henry Poh, 30, who owns second-hand designer store Cavallino at Tanglin Shopping Centre, can attest to that. He says that only Birkin and Kelly bags, which is an Hermes bag named after the late actress Grace Kelly, can command re-sale values not far off from their original price tags. No other brand - not even Louis Vuitton - boasts such cachet.

Still, some women, like real estate agent Chan Su-Lin, 38, refuse to buy into the hype. 'The thrill comes from having something others don't. But after paying that kind of money, what is there left for the inside?' she says.

Luckily for Hermes, there will always be those for whom a hefty price tag is precisely the attraction. Adds Ms Foo: 'It's so well-made I can probably bequeath my bags to my daughter. And amortised over two generations, $10,000 is quite a snip.'

Are women crazy to spend so much on a handbag? Send your comments to


HERMES is not the only fashion brand with its own signature luxury bags. Other brands also roll out five-figured sacs, season after season.

Bottega Veneta
This Italian label is a close second to Hermes in its offering of deluxe leather bags. Its signature woven leather bags can cost anything from $3,000 to $10,000. The label is only available here at Club 21.

The French label's most expensive bag comes from its Surpique range, which was introduced in 1999. Available in seven colours and in alligator leather, it retails at $20,480. On average, the waiting list is five months. Only two have been sold in Singapore.

Louis Vuitton
The French label's limited-edition graffiti bags by Stephen Sprouse and Manga-inspired ones by Takashi Murakami sell like hotcakes.

But it is the new Theda bag (right) from the 2004 spring-summer collection that will command a five-digit sum - $10,900 for normal leather and $32,000 for alligator leather.

The famous Baguette bag was a hit with an average waiting list of about eight months when it was launched in 1998. At its peak here, one shipment of Baguettes - or about 100 bags - could sell out within two hours. Its most expensive design? About $5,000.