Walk into an Hermes shop…..go ahead, I dare you…and hard to say which is more striking, the sleek beauty of everything…or the prices, which are even more stunning. You will see numbers more commonly used by physicists.
Perhaps the most famous Hermes item, along with the signature scarf, is the Birkin, an elegant handbag designed in 1984 at the suggestion of actress Jane Birkin, who sat next to Hermes CEO on an airplane from Paris to London. She complained that the she couldn’t find a good weekend bag…on cue her straw satchel fell out of the overhead and contents all over the floor. He subsequently designed a supple leather bag for her, based on an 1892 design. The iconic bag—distinguished from the Kelly bag, by its double-handle design—runs well over ten thousand dollars depending on leather and finishes.
But even with a mongo credit card, you can’s just walk in and buy one.
There’s a years-long wait list. A program of scarcity helps to fuel desirability. In his humorous memoir Bringing Home the Birkin, Michael Tonello shows how he helps the super-rich fulfill their material fantasies.
An easier way, for most of us, might be to buy a raffle ticket. At the CCFA—Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation—luncheon last week in Beverly Hills they were raffling off a raisin colored Birkin bag, worth $10,300 .
Fingers were crossed under the tables all over the the ballroom.
But get this….organizer of the luncheon Kathy Greenly, a Beverly Hills real estate agent and organizer of luncheon, ended up as winner, announcing her own name.