Bags as Art

The timeless allure of Hermès bags

In a fast-paced fashion world changing trends such as ‘clean girl aesthetic,’ ‘Slavic girl aesthetic,’ or ‘mob wife aesthetic’ seem to emerge from one day to the next. However, in the world of luxury items, few things capture the imagination and desire of enthusiasts as enduringly as high-end designer bags. Collectors actively scour the market for these timeless classics, and especially auction houses like DOROTHEUM, renowned for their expertise in authentification, have proven to be the perfect place to find rare masterpieces. Again and again bags hold a particularly prominent place in the luxury segment of auctions. But what makes the Hermès Kelly and Birkin so popular?

Master of craftsmanship

Hermès encapsulates success. The luxury brand has perfected the art of communication, showcasing a commitment to artisanal craftsmanship and high-quality goods for over 180 years.

Hermès Birkin 30, 2008, rose dragée


The freedom to create, the constant quest for beautiful materials, and the transmission of exceptional know-how forge the uniqueness of Hermès.‘ 

– Hermès

Savoir-faire indeed characterizes the development of the house that stands since six generations. From the iconic orange brand color to the striking imagery of the horse that you re-encounter neighing, when accessing their services over the phone. Hermès sells more than just luxury items—it sells a savoir-vivre, a lifestyle of elegance, sophistication, and refinement. Once bought, one immerses themselves in a tradition of unparalleled design history and superb craftsmanship.

The creation of the Hermès Kelly and Birkin

Hermès Birkin 30, 2019, bleu encre

“Personally, I wouldn’t go anywhere important without my own favorite Hermès black bag… I have my jewelry with me in case something happens and I suddenly have to dress up. For me, going out without that purse would seem almost like going out naked. Well, almost.”

– Grace Kelly

Among Hermès’ most iconic creations are the Kelly and Birkin bags, which have achieved a legendary status in the world of fashion. The Kelly bag traces its origins back to the 1930s when it was known as the “Sac à dépêches”. In 1977 it was renamed in honor of Grace Kelly, who famously carried it in Alfred Hitchcock’s film “To Catch a Thief.” Similarly, the Birkin bag emerged in the 1980s, inspired by a chance encounter between Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas and actress Jane Birkin on a flight.

Hermès Birkin 30, 2020, bleu atoll


Jane Birkin humorously expressed the practical aspect of the Birkin bag when she remarked, 

‘A Birkin bag is a very good rain hat; just put everything else in a plastic bag.’

A symbol of timeless elegance and investment value

Both the Kelly and Birkin bag quickly became synonymous with luxury and exclusivity, coveted by fashion connoisseurs and celebrities around the world. Their timeless designs and limited availability contribute to their enduring appeal and prestige. The Birkin, in particular, has garnered attention for its status, with waiting lists stretching years for certain coveted styles and materials.

These accessories have become an asset since certain Hermès pieces appreciate over time thus maximizing consumer value. The allure of luxury bags like the Kelly and Birkin from Hermès goes beyond mere fashion—it represents a convergence of artistry and heritage, making them coveted treasures in the world of high fashion and investment alike.


Fashion & accessories
25th March 2024, 2p.m.
Palais Dorotheum, Dorotheergasse 17, 1010 Vienna
Tel. +43-1-515 60-356

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