The Holy Grail of handbags is going up for sale tomorrow on eBay as part of a charity auction benefiting Red Cross efforts in Japan. Bids start at $2,000, and only the narrowest understanding of fashion is required to comprehend why it’s likely that Jane Birkin’s Birkin will sell for significantly more money. After all, it was worn daily by its namesake for five years and traveled everywhere with her—from Haiti, where she sang for earthquake survivors, to Burma, where she visited a free health clinic. What makes Birkin’s Birkin truly exceptional, though, is the condition it’s in—which is to say, not much of a condition at all: Stickers from her adventures are unceremoniously slapped onto the leather; the exterior’s roughed up; talismans hang from the handle. This is not the sort of collector-quality, diamond-dazzled specimen toted by celebrities like Victoria Beckham, who is said to own at least 100 Hermès bags. Birkin, however, has owned only four Birkins since Jean-Louis Dumas named it after her in 1984. (She’s donated the last two to charity auctions as well.) She is a religious wearer—so much so that the bag sometimes serves as an extension of her physical self. One rainy afternoon in Paris, just before hopping in a taxi, Birkin rang up Voguewith her thoughts on her sartorial legacy. “A Birkin bag is a very good rain hat; just put everything else in a plastic bag,” is only the first.
On personalization: “There’s no fun in a bag if it’s not kicked around, so that it looks as if the cat’s been sitting on it—and it usually has. The cat may even be in it! I always put on stickers and beads and worry beads. You can get them from Greece, Israel, Palestine—from anywhere in the world. I always hang things on my bags because I don’t like them looking like everyone else’s.”
On restraint: “I never have more than one bag at a time. I think one is already quite enough. Also, I hate changing bags, so I never have the thing of having ten bags. Any bag that’s with me will take the same course as I will. It will take the same airplanes and will be squashed in the same way and will be used as a cushion in the airports.”
On the Birkin she’s carrying now: “It’s black, but it’s not dirty enough, and it hasn’t gotten any stickers on it. It’s rather more bumpy than the other one was, but the surface will soon get scratched about.”
On what she carries in her Birkin: “I’ve got my agenda, my BlackBerry, photos of all the children [daughters Kate Barry, Charlotte Gainsbourg,and Lou Doillon], and my makeup, which is all upside down. It’s the nice mess that I always like.”
On the popularity of the Birkin—both real and fake: “It’s very nice that everyone’s got one or wants one. I keep saying to Hermès to make it out of plastic or, even more fun, make it out of cardboard. Then it wouldn’t be so heavy. But if people want to go for the real thing, fine. If they go for copies, that’s fine too. I really don’t think it matters.”
On handing them down: “My daughter Lou does not have one. Personally, I think it would be a horrible thing to have a Birkin bag from your mother."
Credit: (This Article is taken straight from Vogue Daily, Vogue.com.)
The auction received 97 bids and ended on April 15th, 2011.
Fund raised through the auction (EMI Family supporting British Red Cross) will be used 100% towards helping the Japanese people who recover from the recent Earthquake and Tsunami.