Kelly vs Birkin: Hermès is Always Synonymous with a Luxury Lifestyle by Sarah Duque Lovisoni

Kelly vs Birkin

Hermès is Always Synonymous with a Luxury Lifestyle

Hermès is a French brand established in Paris, synonymous with a luxury lifestyle. Many people who purchase even one item from the Hermès collection have a budget that allows the purchase of accessories that can cost upwards of $100,000. Other items like scarves are under 6-figures and may cost between $10,000 – $30,000.

There are many choices to make when buying a Hermes Birkin or Kelly. There is size, color, and leather to take into account. However, before you can even begin to think about these options, you need to decide whether the Birkin or the Kelly is the style for you. The guide below is designed to provide you with all the information needed to make that decision.

The best way to consider buying a Hermès bag is to start with the right size. The Hermès Birkin bag comes in 3 sizes (25, 30, 35 cm), and 6 sizes for the Kelly bag (25, 28, 32, 35, 40 and 50 cm) with a few additional variations of the Kelly bag during special Hermès releases, including a mini and petite wallet known as the Kelly Pochette and Kelly Cut.

The first of the two bags on the scene was the Kelly bag. In fact, the Kelly bag was around before Grace Kelly, then Princess Grace, brought the bag into the spotlight. She used the bag to conceal her pregnant belly from the prying eyes of the paparazzi, leading to the cover of Life Magazine featuring a picture of both her and the bag in 1956.

The Kelly bag (formerly known as the Sac à dépêches) is a leather handbag designed by the Paris-based, high-fashion luxury-goods manufacturer Hermès. Originally a saddle holder, it was redesigned several times before it was popularized by and then named after the American actress and Monégasque princess Grace Kelly. The bag is now an expensive status symbol.

The Birkin, on the other hand, came later and was designed specifically for actress Jane Birkin. The story behind the bag begins with a chance encounter between Jane Birkin and Hermes on a plane. Jane accidently spilled the contents of her handbag, complaining that it was impossible to “find an elegant large handbag”. The ears of Hermes pricked at this exclamation and three years later the Birkin bag was born.

The Birkin bag is a personal accessory of luggage or a tote by Hermès that is handmade in leather and named after actress and singer Jane Birkin. The bag is currently in fashion as asymbol of wealth due to its high price and use by celebrities. Birkins are the most popular bag with handbag collectors, and Victoria Beckham owns over 100 of them.

Its prices range from US$11,900 to $300,000. Costs escalate according to the type of leather and if exotic skins were used. The bags are distributed to Hermès boutiques on unpredictable schedules and in limited quantities, creating artificial scarcity and exclusivity. Small versions (25 cm) may be considered a handbag or purse.


The history of the two bags provides a hint into the main differences between the Birkin and Kelly. The Kelly bag was designed as a stylish bag of luxury, made for the princesses of this world to cover their baby bumps. The Birkin, however, was designed as an everyday bag, capable of holding all of your essentials without fear of them spilling out.

The main difference between the two, and one that is immediately evident, is that the Kelly bag has one handle on the top plus a shoulder strap whereas the Birkin has two handles at the top and no shoulder strap. This provides the Kelly bag with a more elegant look and provides the option of carrying it either in your hand or cross body. The Birkin is more like a chic tote bag and meant to be carried in the crook of your arm with its two top handles.

Another, more subtle difference, between the two bags is the closure system. The Kelly bag requires the flap to be closed to avoid adding strain to the handle. However, the Birkin bag is often worn as a tote with the lock undone, making it easy to grab whatever is needed, when it is needed.

Author: Sarah Duque Lovisoni

NTA Talent Agency



Snapchat: Sduquelovisoni


Kelly vs Birkin: Hermès is Always Synonymous with a Luxury Lifestyle by Sarah Duque Lovisoni


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