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The history behind the iconic Hermes Birkin bag

The Birkin needs no formal introduction. Known to be one of the most expensive handbags in the world, the Hermès Birkin is the ultimate symbol of arm-candy. It gained its position high up on the hierarchy not only because of the number of A-list celebrities dangling it off their arms but also because of its jaw-dropping price tag and exclusivity.

The Birkin was first conceived thanks to a simple gentlemanly gesture. Jean-Louis Dumas was seated next to singer and actress Jane Birkin, when she accidentally dropped her Hermès diary, scattering her documents everywhere.

Dumas helped her out as she related how her diary is not big enough to hold these items. That was when the late chief executive of Hermès offered to design a bag that can fit it all. He took down notes and stepped off the plane with a preliminary sketch. Later on, they met in the workshop to discuss the process of the Birkin and the rest is history.

The most expensive Birkin, priced at approximately RM7.5 million is designed by Ginza Tanaka.

Why is it so expensive?
The starting price of a Birkin is said to be approximately RM50,000 and the value increases every year. The type of material, animal skin (the rarer the skin, the higher the price), and size are taken into consideration — some of the Birkin editions can even go up to RM10 million for a bag. The most expensive Birkin ever sold is designed by Japanese Designer, Ginza Tanaka, which is priced at approximately RM7.5 million. The bag is made out of platinum and is adorned with 2,000 diamonds, with a diamond bag strap that can be detached and worn as a necklace or bracelet. It also comes with a detachable 8 karat pear-shaped pendant.

So why the hefty price tag? Everything is made with the utmost precision. Every task, from choosing the leather to sewing every single thread, is done by the hands of an elite craftsman. Hermès artisans train for a minimum of five years before they’re allowed to create a Birkin, and it takes up to 48 hours from start to finish to craft the bag.

Only trained elite craftsmen are allowed to craft their own Birkin.

Hermès also limits the production of the bags per year without releasing the actual numbers, making it extremely exclusive with a very long list of clientele. Here’s how you can get your hands on one: know someone that has purchased a Birkin before.

They would need to have a purchase history at the store and their spendings will also be considered first before going on the list. Getting on that list is already a hassle but there would most likely be a waiting list too so make sure to have a great amount of both money and patience when it comes to purchasing your Birkin.

The history behind the iconic Hermes Birkin bag

Jolin Lee


Unlike most modern-day millennials, Jolin does not need caffeine or alcohol to power through the day (and night). Her eye for beauty is as sharp as her eyeliner flick, and she can spot your unblended eye makeup from a mile away.

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