We have all heard the now-iconic Birkin bag’s origin story, involving the chance meeting of Jean-Louis Dumas, then Hermes chief executive and Jane Birkin, darling French actress, on a plane heading from Paris to London. A quick sketch for ‘the perfect weekend bag’ on the back of an air-sickness bag would end up as an icon, considered by many as the ultimate handbag. This Birkin is from the first year of production, 1986, and is an exceptional piece for many reasons. To start, it is entirely done in Doblis Suede, a material Hermes has used for Birkins ever since, but one that has remained impossible to find, more rare than a Himalayan to this day. Notably, this bag came from a private Paris collection, where it had been maintained and used very sparingly. Back in 1986, Leila Menchari, famed window designer for the House took note of the new ‘Birkin’ bag and saw fit to display a few Suede examples just like this one in the Paris flagship windows. Hermes collectors might not know that the Pontets (the brackets on the front that hold the Sangle straps) were initially positioned upside-down, as Hermes thought it improper to carry a Birkin open with the straps resting in the pontets. This bag initially had those inverted bits of hardware, but due to the owner’s close relationship with the company, the hardware has since been replaced by Hermes with gleaming new pieces, including upward-facing pontets. Never before has a Birkin of such strong historical importance come onto the market. Beyond being the only Doblis Suede Birkin 40 we have seen in nearly twenty years, and from the Birkin’s first year of production, it is also one of only a handful of bags connected to Menchari, who’s role in Hermes’ history is en par with those of Martin Margiela and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Hardware: Gold (Store Fresh)
Material: Doblis Suede
Collection: 1986, P
40cm: 16" W x 8" D x 11.25" H
Where used in this sale the term "hardware" refers to the metallic parts of the bag, such as the buckle hardware, base studs, lock and keys and/or strap, which are plated with a coloured finish (e.g. gold, silver, palladium). The terms "Gold Hardware", "Silver Hardware", "Palladium Hardware" etc. refer to the tone or colour of the hardware and not the actual material used. If the bag incorporates solid metal hardware this will be referenced in the lot description.
Store Fresh - No indication of wear, all plastic on hardware, never worn, essentially as new.
Pristine - Little to no indication of handling, usually with all plastic on hardware and most likely never worn.
Excellent - Very minor evidence of handling.
Very Good - Evidence of wear and handling, with no major flaws.
Good - Moderate wear and is fully functional.
Fair - Moderate wear and has condition issues that may or may not be repairable.