Kylie Jenner made the news this Friday (12) after documenting part of her birthday party on a boat on TikTok and showing a treat beyond luxurious that she got from her mother, Kris Jenner.
The cosmetics businesswoman was presented with a rare version of the Birkin bag, a Hermès handbag that would be valued at US$100,000 or just over R$500,000, according to the Daily Mail.
But, after all, why is the piece so expensive?
Kylie herself explains in the video that the piece is quite rare: in this tricolor model, only three pieces were produced and, according to the law of supply and demand, especially in the high luxury market, this would make it a collector’s item, putting your label on high.
If quantity explains the price, another reason makes the gift so iconic. Over the years, the Birkin bag has become not only a symbol of status and high purchasing power, but also of elegance and style in its various iterations and this has to do with its history and the woman who inspired it: the singer and British actress Jane Birkin.
Who is Jane Birkin?
Today at 75, Jane Birkin was one of the main “it-girls” of the 60’s and 70’s. She became known for participation in films such as Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow-Up: After That Kiss” (1966) and, more notably, for his musical partnership with Serge Gainsbourg, who would later be his partner and with whom he has a daughter, director and actress Charlotte Gainsbourg (from “Nymphomaniac”).
It was right next to Serge that she has become a symbol of irreverence. She scandalized society in 1969 with the release of the track “I t’aimemoi no plus”, considered sexually explicit thanks to their whispers and suggestive lyrics.
Also his way of dressing still influences what is known today as “french girl style” (French style, in free translation), even though she is English. This is because Jane made France her home decades ago and solidified herself in the international imagination with the right to a lot of jeans, plaid pieces, t-shirts, stripped coats, fringes and a certain indifference to her own appearance that made her interesting.
It was from this indifference or “je ne sais quois” (a “I don’t know what”) that precisely the Birkin bag was born. Jane boasted basket bags in straw, also known as Portuguese, wherever she went — and was photographed, always full of personal belongings. It was a personal brand that became the subject of a historic meeting.
On the plane with Dumas
According to the Hermès brand itself, a coincidence led to the “golden” bag. In 1984, then-chairman Jean-Louis Dumas sat next to Birkin on a flight from Paris to London. She then complained to the executive that she couldn’t find good bags that fit everything she needed to carry as a mother of young children. Dumas wrote down the suggestion, literally.
Even during the flight, he would have immediately sketched out some designs for a rectangular bag, with a lid and seam, like the baskets that Jane favored, with a result very similar to a smaller version of the handbag that Hermès had been manufacturing since 1900. that there could fit the bottles that she so needed to carry.
The idea was a great success. Over the years, the bag gained value and gained regular limited versions, the result of multimillion-dollar partnerships or other anniversaries — as does another fashion success case, Nike’s Air Force 1 sneaker.
Fashionistas the world over covet and eventually incorporate Birkin into their closets, from the Kardashians to Marina Ruy Barbosa. More than a fashion icon, she was incorporated into pop culture and started to appear in films and series. If Manolo Blahniks were Carrie’s Grail, Birkins were Samantha’s in “Sex and the City” (1998-2004).
This is also the case with “Gilmore Girls” (2000-2007) in which Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) wins her boyfriend Logan’s (Matt Czuchry) bag, but doesn’t quite know what it is. Happy with the gift, she makes a casual use similar to Jane’s, while the grandmother is outraged that she never received such a fine gift.
Jane, on the other hand, went from muse to a kind of ambassador of the creation that she inspired and since her birth she often appears in public with one of the variants. In 2015, however, the relationship was almost shaken by a request by the actress for the brand to stop making the crocodile leather version after PETA denounced animal cruelty in one of the brand’s breeding grounds.
If Hermès did not agree, Jane also asked that her name be removed from the model in question. However, according to the British newspaper The Guardian, the company resolved the irregularities and would have made peace with its eternal muse, at last. The icon, since then, remains firm and strong.