My love affair with Hermès goes way back to my childhood when I first laid eyes on Grace Kelly in High Society (which happens to be a remake of one of my favourite films of all time, The Philadelphia Story).
The Kelly is no less coveted than the Birkin although the grand sales of it are kept a little more hush-hush. I have a theory that Hermès likes to keep the Kelly the quiet, classy one, and therefore Hermès doesn’t flaunt it around like the Birkin. It is because the Kelly customers, perhaps, are slightly less flamboyant, more ‘classic’.
Designed in the 1930s, the Hermès “petit sac haut a courroies,” which meant “little bag with straps,” was always a popular handbag among the wealthy ladies. It was named the “Kelly Bag” in the 1950s when Grace Kelly famously used the bag to conceal her pregnant belly from the paparazzi. It became an instant symbol of style and status.
So the question is: Kelly or Birkin?
It seems to not be just a matter of aesthetics. The bags seem to reflect different vibes and appeal to a different type of women. The Washington Post article titled “Hermès VS Hermès” by Annie Groer from 2006, explores the differences between the two bags. In the article, she interviews Inga Guen of the Washington’s famed consignment shop Once is Not Enough, who states:
“A woman who is going to wear the Kelly is of very erect stature, she comes from money, very good background, is extraordinarily educated, and life to her is one where she will be very inconspicuous.”
Guen also describes a Birkin carrier as a woman who “wears Manolo mules, a pair of jeans, a little Chanel jacket. She is the younger woman.”
As much as I aspire to become an old money rich bitch like my idol Nan Kempner, I have to say that a Birkin would more suit my personal style (which can be pretty street casual most of the time). And I adore Jane Birkin and all of her offsprings. But my heart belongs to Kelly. Why? Because being a ‘Kelly’ type is my ultimate goal: an elegant and graceful woman with a weekend home in the Hamptons (ok, maybe Whistler). Maybe it is also because Birkin has been defaced for me by being constantly attached to the arms of annoying celebs. So is Kelly, but seemingly less so. Kelly is more understated.
So I guess I’m a Kelly girl (although I wouldn’t refuse a Birkin if it came my way)!
But, I think I’ll stick to scarves for now…
What do you think?