photo via CNN.com
What We Love Today in Fashion Column:
musing about Jane Birkin,
the Hermes Birkin bag, and a
love for the straw bucket bag,
plus five straw bag shares for Summer 2017
designer this...designer that...
Many women plunk down thousands of dollars for the perfect designer handbag. Which designer bag one carries has become a ladies' signature, and as a result prices have soared through the roof. Back in the 1960s fashion icon Jane Birkin left her mark on us all. Later, in the 1980's Hermes even designed a bag after her, the now famous Birkin Bag. Check out our Hermes story here on Nest by Tamara about my once in a lifetime visit behind-the-scenes to the Hermes Atelier outside of Paris where I was invited to view first-hand how they make these gorgeous bags. One fun fact I'd love to share -- the soft Birkin bag (yes, there is a soft Birkin and a hard Birkin) is actually created inside out by one artisan at Hermes, then after stitching it meticulously by hand, the artisan turns in right side in....it takes months to make one Birkin bag and only one person touches the handbag from conception through completion.
The bag came to fruition in the 1980s with the help of Jane's input, after the head of Hermes sat next to the English and French actress, singer and songwriter on an airplane. She accidentally spilled the contents from her straw bag while storing it overhead, and complained to him it was hard to find the perfect bag, so she carried this straw bag instead. By 1984, the Birkin bag was created, and the rest is history. Today, this bag fetches between $10,000. to 150,000. (depending upon the leathers).
Back when my kids attended school in New York City (yes, they graduated from swanky Manhattan private schools), there was no telling how many Birkins would be dangling from mom's arms everyday at pick up, and it was common place to see them. I can safely say the Birkin was the quintessential bag of the Upper East Side mom at that time. I have always loved the bag, but it lost a little bit of cache to me in those days. Although I love fashion, I like it to be nuanced and unique and seeing this bag as such a status icon, ruined it a tiny bit. Now, don't get me wrong, I still love all things Hermes because of their fastidious attention to detail in all they make. I am not dissing the Birkin bag, and please if you want to gift me one, I'm happy to proudly carry it. I am merely stating the funny way our human brains work. When we first see it as uniqe, we want it but when it feels everyone has it, we no longer desire it as much. However, many are happy to note the popularity of this iconic bag has not waned as told in House Beautiful's Birkin Bag story where they state the bag is a fantastic financial investment!
Before Hermes dreamt up a bespoke bag in her honor, Jane carried around this slightly frayed straw bucket bag everywhere she went-- from black tie galas to shopping the Parisian farmer's market. I think there is something refreshing and oh, so stylish about that!
To me, summer is all about the straw bag, and I have dozens. Many are vintage, some brand new, some with seashells encrusted upon, some I've designed myself, but they are all wonderful and I carry them all summer long. This summer, let your "stylish flag fly", bring out the quirky and unique style in you, maybe starting with a straw bag. We've found some fantastic ones, some bargains while others a bit more of a splurge. The one from etsy is in honor of Jane, so take a look...
Be like Jane,
Find Your Unique Style This Summer:
Five Fantastic Straw Bags