Remembering Jane Birkin: How the French icon served as inspiration for famed Birkin handbag
Jane Birkin, an actress, singer, and supermodel, is no more. The French icon, who was known for her acting prowess, singing ability, and impeccable sense of style, breathed her last in her Paris home. The diva will be remembered as a true fashion icon, her 60s 'IT' girl vibes and whatnot! In addition to all the things she did in her career, Jane is also the one who gave the world of fashion one of the most ultra-luxury accessories, Birkin bags.
Yes, you read it right. Jane served as the inspiration for the Birkin bag, a high-cost accessory that is not at all easy to acquire. Want to know how a French singer became the inspiration behind a bag that went on to become the biggest obsession of every fashion aficionado? Read the story to find out!
The infamous flight saga: How Jane became the inspiration behind the story.
The story of the Hermès Birkin bag traces back to 1983 when actress and singer Jane Birkin was travelling from Paris to London, unaware that she was seated next to Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas. Birkin was struggling to fit her bag in the overhead compartment of her seat when all the things fell out.
Looking at Jane, Dumas was quick to suggest that she should carry the bag with more pockets. And from this point on, the actual talk between the two strangers began, and the world got one of the costliest accessories.
Recalling the day when she met Jean-Louis Dumas, the late singer told The Daily Telegraph in an interview: "I remember it well. I'd been upgraded by Air France on a flight to London and was sitting next to a man. I'm not quite sure what type of bag I had with me, my husband, Jacques Doillon, had reversed his car over my basket, crushed it on purpose not two days before."
Recalling further, she said: ''The man next to me said: 'You should have one with pockets''.
Replying to Dumas, she said: ''The day Hermès makes one with pockets I will have that'', and he said: "But I am Hermès and I will put pockets in for you."
During their chat, Birkin shared the bag that she needed as the mother of two at the time, and the former head of Hermes and Jane sat together and designed the prototype of the elegant Birkin bag. Dumas designed the bag based on their chat and named the fashion item after the singer. The first bag was released in 1984, one year after the plane meeting.
When Jane asked Hermes to stop using her name
In 2015, Jane asked Hermes to stop using her name for the best-selling crocodile version after PETA alleged that crocodiles were harmed and slaughtered with cruel methods for the high-cost accessory.
In the statement released back then, Jane said, "Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermès handbags carrying my name, I have asked Hermès to debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place."