THE HERMÈS BIRKIN
When it comes to handbag hierarchy, the Hermès Birkin – the ultimate status symbol in the arm-candy stakes, with a starting price around £5,600 ($8,500), rising every year – continues to rule the roost, as the prized possession of the deep-pocketed few.
Created in 1984, the iconic bag boasts as its namesake muse Paris-based British actress Jane Birkin.
Its existence was a happy accident, borne out of an exchange between Birkin and former Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas on an Air France flight from Paris to London in the early ’80s. Birkin, who had been upgraded, ended up sitting next to the executive; when the contents spilled out of her bag, Dumas suggested she needed one with pockets, and this sparked a conversation about her ideal accessory. As she recounted to The Telegraph in 2012, the actress ended up doodling her specifications for “a handbag that is bigger than the Kelly but smaller than Serge (Gainsbourg)’s suitcase” on a sick bag. The rest is handbag history.