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Hermes – What you need to know

June 20, 2007

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Introduced in 1984, the Birkin was named after actress Jane Birkin, who codesigned the bag with then-Hermes chairman and CEO Jean-Louis Dumas, after complaining that the Kelly (named after Grace Kelly) was not practical for everyday use. Why does this cost so much? It takes 1800 hand stitches just to make one. The Birkin comes in many different colours and leathers. One of the most coveted colour is the Blue-Jean colour, which has been carried around by famous stars like Victoria Beckham and Lindsay Lohan. Togo and Clemence leather are quite common in the production of Birkins as well. Other exotics include Lizard, Glazed Crocodile, Matte Crocodile and Ostritch. Of course, special orders are available, ranging from fabric to double or triple colours. The Birkin featured above is the Crocodile Birkin with Diamonds – truly, one of the rarest Birkins in the world – it is reported that Kelly Osbourne purchased one for mum, Sharon Osbourne as an apology. Sizes include: 25cm, 30cm (very common), 35cm (also very common), 40cm (usually carried by men), 45cm and 50cm (travel birkin). Weight is also an issue for the Birkin as they are quite heavy. Depending on the leather, one must be careful of colour transfer. Box leather is especially prone to this.

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The JPG Birkin is Jean Paul Gaultier’s take on the Birkin. It looks younger and fresher. The difference between the JPG Birkin and the normal Birkin is that the JPG Birkin is longer in terms of length, shorter in terms of height and has longer handles that allow shoulder carry – this is unlike the Birkin, where one needs to have extremely skinny arms to shoulder carry. However, one of the complaints about the JPG Birkin is that the wide base makes it odd to shoulder carry.. Also, a complaint from a friend whose mum has a JPG Birkin is that because it’s so long, it tends to hit people when carried by hand. Exotics are available for JPG Birkins as well.

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The Kelly was named after Grace Kelly, and looks much more formal than the Birkin, especially when closed. I know of many ladies who love the Kelly for its formal look and love teaming this with more formal clothes. The Kelly has been reinvented in 2007, where the Kelly Flat was introduced – whereby a belt was provided to literally tie up the Kelly when flattened. There are 2 types of Kellys – Kelly Sellier and Kelly Retourne. Sizes range from a mini, to a 28cm to a 32cm – both of which are more common. There also is the JPG Kelly, which is a mini-version of the Kelly, as seen on Victoria Beckham.

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Credit: shopmom411 from tpf

This is known as the Haute a Courroies, and looks quite like the Birkin. The difference between this HAC and the Birkin is that the HAC is taller. Other than that, they’re pretty similar. I do know of some men who choose HACs over the Birkin. Also, the HAC is available for special order. Fergie was recently pictured with a special order bi-coloured HAC.

(To be continued!)

P.S Feel free to leave comments! =)

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9 comments

  1. I want the HAC in canvas and croc. Whether that will ever happen is another story.


  2. I had you in mind when I said that there are some men whom I know that would choose a HAC over the Birkin!


  3. i really don’t see the appeal in it. its so plain & boring.


  4. thanks for posting this…now i know more 😀
    btw, i’m waiting for part 2 😀


  5. i am wondering, do you mind if i post your article about this in my blog? please let me know. i would love to post this article in my blog. thanks before 🙂


  6. ^sure, you can credit it to me.


  7. yup…will do. thanks a lot vogue 🙂
    u can check it @my website:
    http://srierani.blogspot.com/2007/08/hermes-what-you-need-to-know.html


  8. I dying to get a kelly, can’t decide between retourne or sellier, I saw a picture of a retourne vintage on flickr from Karen Kooper. I think I prefer a vintage sellier.


  9. Hi, just want to add to the Kelly section, they actually have kelly 35, my mom has dark brown troika kelly in size 35

    however I still don’t know the difference between retourne and sellier Kelly, can anyone fill me in?

    And I’d like to know since I have leather & canvas Birkin 50, is the size 50 considered a Birkin or a HAC?

    Keep researching, I’m waiting for the second part..



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