20 July 2023
Leathergoods brand Hermès has said the company was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jane Birkin, the actress who gave her name to one of its most iconic handbags. Ms Birkin died on July 16 at the age of 76, writes Leatherbiz.
“We have lost a close friend and a long-time companion,” Hermès said. “We appreciated the extent to which Jane Birkin’s soft elegance revealed an artist in her own right, committed, open-minded, with a natural curiosity of the world and others. We salute Jane Birkin’s talent, and above all her great humanity as we join her family in mourning.”
The company made the first Birkin bag in 1983 after a famous chance encounter. Jane Birkin was on the same flight from Paris to London as then-chief executive, Jean-Louis Dumas, cousin of current chief executive, Axel Dumas.
She complained that she could not find a tote bag that suited her and was using a straw basket instead. When she attempted to place the basket in the overhead locker, many of her personal effects fell to the floor. Mr Dumas helped pick her things up and promised to make something better for her, resulting in the now-famous Birkin bag.