10 Iconic Fashion Pieces Named for People or Places


7

The Birkin Bag

Birkin bag
This one-of-a-kind orange Hermès Birkin bag belongs to Comes With Baggage founder and owner Lori Levine. Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Comes With Baggage

When an entire "Sex and the City" storyline revolves around a particular type of handbag, you know it's a fashion must-have. In an episode titled "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda," Samantha Jones risks her career and besmirches her star client's good name to jump a five-year waiting list and get her hands on an Hermès Birkin. The famed Birkin bag also has played a major plot point on the TV show "Gilmore Girls," and appeared on the arm of celebrities like Kim Kardashian and FLOTUS Melania Trump. The notoriously pricey status symbol (ranging from $11,000 to well into the six-figure range) is named for English actress Jane Birkin.

"Nothing quite defines fashion like Jane herself," Kinney says. "According to legend, Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas was seated next to Jane Birkin on a flight from Paris to London in the 1980s. She had just placed her straw travelling bag in the overhead compartment for her seat, but the contents fell leaving a mess." Apparently, according to Kinney, Birkin told Dumas that it was difficult to find a leather weekend bag she liked and so he and Birkin designed the Birkin bag together on an airplane sick bag and he named it in her honor.

"The Birkin was born a bag of elegance, effortless chic, and according to Jane Birkin herself, the only bag a girl should need," Kinney says. "Years later, the bag has remained one of the most defining status symbols in fashion. There is nothing comparable despite how hard others might try. Unlike Jane, however, I actually covet too many bags to own just a Birkin!"