Considering college starts back next Monday, I should really be ensuring I’ve read all (ok…some…or at least one, if I’m being remotely honest) of the prescribed readings. Instead, I’ve just emerged from having immersed myself in Michael Tonello’s Hèrmes-homage/memoir, Bringing Home the Birkin. Formerly an eBay reseller of all things orange emblazoned with a ‘H’, Tonello recounts his past travelling through Europe and pit-stopping at Hermes stores in an attempt to secure Birkin bags sans the involvement of the renowned two-year waiting-lists.
It comes recommended, primarily for shits-and-giggles. But I digress. What I wanted to address here wasn’t Tonello’s proficiency as a writer but the legacy of that sought-after-to-an-unfathomable-extent marker of luxury – the Birkin bag.
Stories of the bag’s provenance are many, one being based around actress and musician Jane Birkin’s conversations with then Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas, and her expressing the great difficulty she had in finding a suitable weekender bag (would that it was this easy to satiate leather luxury goods desires). The bag itself is the epitome of understated elegance, an embodiment of that almost unattainable French chic.
But – and this is my point here – can it be worn well by men as well as women? Recent images of self-professed Birkin-boys lead me to answer in the affirmative. From blogger Bryan Boy to über-designer Marc Jacobs, it seems this once the bag of choice for WAGs and Samantha Jones of SATC (“It’s not a bag; it’s a fucking Birkin!”) has been appropriated by the boys. Mind you, these pictures aren’t entirely coherent with my theory in that I don’t really approve of the outfits in their entirety (Vuitton rabbit ears anyone? No? Perhaps you’d prefer a kilt?) but the bag’s the focus here and each and every on these men manages to pull it off.
^ Blogger David Motta
Ostrich or leather? Or purple croc a la Pharrell? The bag is, as many of you will know, crafted in a variety of skins and with different metals for hardware. Basic leather models start around $5,000-$7,000 while the croc-crop (see below) can fetch around $120,000 which begs a second question – who in their right mind goes to such expense for a tote? Granted they’re hand-crafted but isn’t this all a little much?