Most ladies love a good handbag. Whether it’s a practical satchel for work, a spacious bowling bag for a night away or a boxy clutch for the evening, the right bag can make a woman feel secure, organised and ready for anything. Whilst some women are willing to pay an extortionate amount of money for the latest designer tote, others, ourselves included, prefer quantity to quality. Don’t get me wrong, designer bags are gorgeous, well made and will without doubt last longer than a cheap offering from the market, but you can have too much of a good thing and anyway we’ve got better things to be spending our money on, like shoes for instance!
One of the most lusted after bags is the Birkin, a bag named after the British actor and singer Jane Birkin. Launched in 1984 after Hermès CEO, Jean-Louis Dumas, watched the contents of Birkin’s bag fall from an overhead locker during a shared flight, the bag has continued to be a favourite amongst celebrities and socialites. The average price for a new Birkin is around £5,600, but limited edition and rare versions can see this price rocket. Recently a new record was set for the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction, with a fuschia diamond-encrusted crocodile skin Birkin going to an anonymous phone bidder at Christie’s international handbags and accessories auction in Hong Kong. The rare bag cost the buyer a jaw dropping £146,000. Prior to that the record had stood at £144,00 for a gold and diamond version that had once been owned by Elizabeth Taylor.
Many collectors or very rich handbag lovers will pay ridiculously inflated prices to get the bag of their dreams and many see it as an investment, as typically a carefully used Birkin can be resold for between 80-120% on what the owner originally paid for it. To date, the most expensive Hermès bag is thought to be the Himalayan crocodile Birkin, which was sold directly from the French fashion house at a price of £284,000, which is also the amount of money it would cost you to buy a 4 bed detached house in the Yorkshire Dales!
So, what is so special about the Birkin?
Well, firstly, each bag takes 48 hours to hand stitch. They are made in France by artisan experts and no two bags are identical. The average waiting time for a genuine Hermès Birkin is two years, although when demand is high it has been known to stretch to six years, hence why auction sales and online sales prove so popular. Fabric variations can include ostrich, calf leather, goat leather and lizard with the most expensive being saltwater crocodile skin.
There are many fake versions available, just pop down to your local market and you’ll see what I mean, which is fine as long as you know exactly what you are getting and you are not paying over the odds for it.
So, come on own up, what is the most you have spent on a handbag, or maybe you have been lucky enough to be given a designer handbag as a gift. We want to hear about your favourite handbag styles; the ones, which if money were no object, you’d just have to have in your life!