Why The Birkin Handbag Is A Design Classic

When it comes to designer handbags, the Hermès Birkin bag is the top of any collectors’ list. The elegant simplicity of the design, combined with outstanding craftsmanship and the highest quality materials, are part of the reason of course. Maybe the rest can be put down to that elusive je ne sais quoi. Here’s a look at how the iconic bag came to be.

The story begins in 1984 with a chance encounter between the English singer and actress Jane Birkin, and the boss of Hermés fashion house, Jean-Louis Dumas. Birkin, a long-time French resident, has starred in films such as Blowup, and Kaleidoscope. She also sang on the controversial duet Je t'aime moi non plus with former partner Serge Gainsborough.

After Birkin expressed dissatisfaction with her travel holdall on the flight, Dumas decided to create the ultimate marriage of form and function in a handbag. The result was the design classic that is universally regarded as a luxury lifestyle accessory today, as much as a piece of travel luggage.

The rarity value of genuine Birkin bags adds to their exclusivity, and they change hands in the auction houses of the world for thousands of pounds. They are available in a range of sizes and materials, and they can be custom-ordered to include special details, such as diamond fixtures, or bespoke colours.

There is apparently a six-year waiting list for the highly desirable handbag, and its sister, the Kelly. The latter is named for the beautiful Princess Grace of Monaco, formerly the actress Grace Kelly, who tragically died in a car accident at the age of 52.

However, for those who want to pay tribute to this celebrated fashion item, there is an opportunity to commission your own resin Artbag sculpture. These beautiful hand-crafted items take the clear resin as a blank canvas to display the contents of the bag.


Kanye Buys $275k Birkin Bag For New Girlfriend

Kanye West proved he is one of the Hermes Birkin’s biggest fans, after buying his new girlfriend a bag from the designer worth $275,000 (£220,000).

The rapper gave the “very, very rare” Birkin that is no longer in circulation to his current girlfriend Chaney Jones, according to an exclusive from Page Six.

Not wanting to miss the occasion when the accessory was handed to Chaney in Houston earlier this week, the 44-year-old watched it on FaceTime.

The silver metallic bag is made from Chevre leather and features palladium hardware,  making it certain this exclusive handbag will stand out from others.

This isn’t the first time Kanye has bestowed Birkin gifts to friends and family, as he recently bought five Birkins for his previous girlfriend Julia Fox, as well as her pals.

He commissioned personal shopper Michell Lovelace to purchase the bags, with the stylist telling the news provider: “The next day, they were like, ‘Wait, we actually want to get more,’ because he wants to gift all her close friends one too. I was like, no way. I couldn’t believe it at first.”

The 32-year-old actress recently showed off her Birkin bag, thought to be worth $45,000, after a photoshoot for Vogue in Paris.

Speaking with the New York Times, Fox said: “I don’t know if you know about owning a Birkin when you’re not a rich person, but it’s like the most anxiety-inducing thing ever. You’re checking the Birkin, making sure it’s still there … It’s a lot of pressure.”

 

Immortalise your Birkin bag by turning it into contemporary resin art. Find out more by clicking here.


Queen’s Favourite Handbag Designer Launches Jubilee Edition

The favourite handbag designer of the Queen is celebrating the Jubilee by launching a new collection based on Her Majesty’s classic accessory.

Launer is releasing a retro-style handbag reminiscent of the style they launched in 1972, which Queen Elizabeth II herself has long been a fan of.

Gerald Bodmer, chief executive of the handbag brand, was reported by Hello! magazine as saying: “The Queen is a style icon and always looks remarkable, we are therefore proud and delighted that she has used Laune bags so prominently for more than 50 years.”

Therefore, there is no better way to celebrate the royal’s 70 years on the throne than with a Jubilee Collection, which while being based on the Queen’s favourite structured design, has also been updated with a contemporary finish.

For instance, the suede interior has been replaced with a retro-feel fabric, and each bag features a leather plaque with ‘Platinum Edition Jubilee’ in embossed gold foil.

There are five colours of the limited-edition accessory, including Monarch Purple, Ebony Black, Tangerine, Cloud Blue and Fawn Brown, and are available for £2,500.

Bodmer told People: “It’s a beautifully finished product – we stick to what we are good at, which is making structured bags.”

Over the last 50 years, the Queen has been seen with six different styles of Launer bags, with her most recent choice being the Turandot, which is smaller and lighter to carry.

Due to its popularity among the royal family, Launer has been given the Royal Warrant, which is the “ultimate seal of approval and prestige”.

For another historic handbag that you can also put on display, consider an art bag. Find out more by taking a look here.


Get Birkin Bangs To Complement Your Birkin Bag!

No doubt you’re all familiar with the work of the one and only Jane Birkin, the 60s and 70s style icon who was so intriguing and alluring that luxury French brand Hermes named a tote bag after her.

The bag itself has gone on to become just as iconic as its namesake, of course, and it’s incredibly difficult to get your hands on an original, with demand incredibly high for these key fashion statements.

But if you are lucky enough to have one in pride of place in your wardrobe at home, you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear that one of the latest trends for wearing your hair over the next few seasons or so is a set of beautiful Birkin bangs!

As Glamour Magazine explains, Jane was just as famous for her fringe as she was for anything else and her locks fast became the ‘it look’ for her generation… so it’s great to see that it’s bag in fashion once again.

It’s particularly good news for anyone who likes to look their best but in an effortless way, polished and pretty but not too perfect - just right for the warmer months. Here’s a hot tip from the magazine… invest in some good-quality dry shampoo so you can refresh your fringe throughout the day and stop it from getting a little on the greasy side.

And if you’re looking to recreate the Birkin style at home, as well as while you’re out and about, make sure that you take a look at our pieces of contemporary resin art. We have some stunning handbag pieces that can be fully customised - so you can really make them your own and create a real talking point for guests when they pop by.


Queen’s Handbag Maker Goes Retro For Jubilee

When someone has sat on the throne for 70 years, it’s fair to say they have seen a lot down the years. But while the Queen has experienced many things, met thousands of people and visited innumerable places, she is rarely seen without a handbag.

These are, of course, no ordinary handbags. But while the monarch has gone through any number of outfits and sported many styles as clothes fashions have changed, it seems the order of the day for handbags is the style of yesteryear.

That is certainly the verdict of Launder, the designer producer of bespoke handbags and one of the most renowned makers. The firm has announced a new jubilee collection, which includes the Platinum Edition Jubilee bag, based on the model the Queen used in 1972.

Also in the range is a framed archive bag, a style that was popular in the 1970s and 80s, which Launer described as “a constant feature in the wardrobe of Her Majesty The Queen during this period.”  Other styles featured in the range include the Lisa, Turandot, Traviata and Royale.

It will certainly take a fine bit of handbag art to emulate the style of these treasured royal items. However, it is also true that while they are luxury products at the top of the range, they are also in styles that have been hugely popular; it’s not as if her majesty would walk around with a handbag looking completely unlike millions of other women.

At the same time, other luxury handbag makers are not sitting back and allowing the Queen’s favourite brand to have it all is own way. Gucci, for instance, has just launched its own retro product, a reimagining of the 1991 Diana Handbag.

All this suggests that for those interested in handbag art, this year may be one in which retro looks could be particularly popular - and not just because people want to look back over the Queen’s 70-year reign.


Sotheby’s To Sell Nineties Collection Of Chanel Handbags

Prestigious auction house Sotheby’s has launched an auction to sell off a wide range of rare handbags from Chanel alongside a range of jewellery and other accessories from their 1990s and early 2000s collections.

The auction, titled the Chanel Collection, features more than 100 bags from the prestigious French fashion house, all of which are in good condition and feature a wide variety of design styles from a period of intense innovation in studio handbags.

The bag expected to make the most is a white lizard double flap bag with a gold handle and Chanel logo lock that dates back to 1996 and is expected to sell for up to $12,000 (£9120).

This maximum estimate is matched by a black lizard version of the bag from the same era, as well as a rather unique miniature clutch in the shape of a hammered gold bullion bar from Chanel’s 2006 Spring/Summer collection.

These are just a couple of the exceptionally extravagant bags on offer at the auction, which include bags shaped like a pair of plates, a burgundy quilted lambskin handbag with a unique handle that is only connected at one side, and a clear plexiglass art bag from the brand’s 1997 collection.

There are several clear bags in the collection, including one with black patent leather lining from 1994-1996, and a notable example from as far back as 1988.

Interestingly for a Sotheby's auction, whilst most of the attention is drawn to the higher end of the estimates, there are several vintage Chanel handbags available for an estimate lower than £1000, including a 1994-96 clear cosmetic case with red lambskin.

With a growing interest in vintage fashion, particularly styles inspired by 1990s fashion trends, the auction has become somewhat timely, with many nostalgic items seen on runways in decades past available to a new generation of people inspired by the fashions of a very different era.


What Are The Most Expensive Handbags In The World?

There are few accessories as personal as a handbag, and bespoke handbags have been popular and desirable since the earliest modern examples were designed by H. J. Cave for the wife of Doncaster industrialist Samuel Parkinson, inventor of butterscotch.

Handbags are a beautiful medium for design, for artistic and for personal expression, and much like other forms of jewellery, some highly expensive bags have been sold and worn as a way to stand out from the crowd.

With that in mind, here are some of the most expensive handbags ever made.

 

Hermés Birkin By Ginza Tanaka

Ginza Tanaka, one of the oldest and most prestigious goldsmiths in Japan, helped to design a bag that cost £1.44m, in no small part because it is made out of platinum.

The Hermés Birkin by Ginza Tanaka has 2000 diamonds adorning it and its strap is so opulent it could be used as a necklace by itself. It also featured an 8-carat dazzling pear-shaped diamond that could also be fitted as a brooch.

 

Hermés Sac Bijou Birkin

Whilst it may seem like a handbag made of diamonds and platinum could not possibly be topped in the expense stakes, Hermés unveiled the Sac Bijou Birkin bag as part of their 2012 Haute Bijouterie collection.

Made entirely out of rose gold and diamonds and with only three examples in existence in the world, it combines precious materials with rarity to make for a bag that costs £1.9m.

 

Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse

Officially known as the world’s most valuable handbag, Mouawad’s 1001 Nights Diamond Purse is shaped like a heart, made primarily from 18-karat gold and features an incredible 4,517 diamonds onto its surface, including 105 yellow, 56 pink and 4,356 colourless stones.

It took 9000 hours by master craftspeople to put it together and costs £2.88m in total.


The Origins Of British Pop Art

One of the most fascinating artistic movements in both the UK and US over the past 70 years has been the evolution of pop art, and the bright colours and unique styles shaped by collage, sculptor and resin artists alike.

Both the British and American pop art movements developed in very different ways; although both started in the 1950s and focus greatly on pop culture imagery, they each interpret it in very different ways.

British pop art focused on the effects of American pop culture when viewed from a distance and was much closer to the previous avant-garde Dadaism movement of the late 1920s and 1920s.

Dada was a movement that emerged after the outbreak of the First World War that was cynical, satirical and often nonsensical, protesting the ‘reason’ and ‘logic’ of the society that led people into a war to end all wars.

Pop art came from a similar place, particularly in terms of its postmodern ideology and exploration of mass culture, propaganda, a rejection of aesthetic norms and the world after an even more destructive Second World War.

One of the earliest examples of pop art in the form we most commonly associate is ‘Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?’ by Richard Hamilton in 1956.

An ironic collage of a range of mass media artefacts of the era, it highlighted a common style used for pop art that explored the implications of pop culture imagery, particularly in the form of American mass advertising, which had by this point borrowed many elements from modern art.

The early British pop art movement was led by the Independent Group, consisting of artists such as William Turnbull, Richard Hamilton and John McHale and highlighted the different approaches their pop art took from modernist art at the time, and even from the later evolution of American pop art.

They embraced the commercialised nature of pop culture rather than adopting the modernist rejection of it or the American pop art scene’s boldness and aggression, leading to a more satirical, humourous and ironic artistic movement.


The Handbags Of Famous Women

If you want a handbag, you will go to a handbag store, perhaps buying the most stylish and fashionable of items. But when it comes to a luxury art handbag sculpture, something truly exceptional is surely required.

That means the handbag that is the subject in question must stand out in some exceptional way. That may be due to its appearance, size or some other visible characteristic. But then again, it could be that the handbag itself has more of a story to tell.

As with so many artefacts, many a handbag will gain importance because of its owner. What could make a more interesting handbag sculpture than one with some stand-out associations?

The Queen will certainly be seen a lot in 2022, with this being her Platinum jubilee.  While there will be various outfits for the fashion fanatics to comment on, many will take note of her handbags whenever she is seen with one.

One only has to look back to 2016 to see this, when Today reported that frequent appearances by the monarch with a Launer handbag helped sales of the brand jump 52 per cent in a year.

Perhaps the woman with whom a handbag is most strongly associated was Margaret Thatcher. The former prime minister, dubbed ‘The Iron Lady’ by the Soviets for her tough character, was seldom seen in public without one and the term ‘handbagging’ was invented to illustrate the notion of her swinging it like a medieval mace when she wanted to get her way or tell someone off.

More conventional fashion icons included Grace Kelly, who once used a Hermes handbag to cover up a baby bump, as well as Audrey Hepburn, who had a wide range of designer bags.

So if you want a custom-made handbag sculpture, there may be many examples linked with famous women that you can choose from.


How Resin Became A Great Art Form

Anyone who is fascinated by and attracted to the sculptures we produce may wonder just how the contemporary resin art that makes such an impact today emerged.

While the origins of some forms of craft can be found way back in the cultures of antiquity and may even be lost in the mists of time, certain styles of art - ranging from painting to sculpture and architecture - developed as particular ‘schools’.

In the case of resin art, the history of using natural resin goes right back to ancient times. After all, it exists in a natural form, secreted from trees and known as amber in its hardened form. It was valued for various purposes, from the Greek belief that it was solidified sunlight to its use as a hallucinogenic drug in some cultures. Naturally, it was ideal for jewellery, especially amber.

Of course, it is now possible to make resin synthetically and, like glass, it can be coloured, moulded and shaped, making it ideal for jewellery, sculptures, various receptacles and furnishings. However, unlike glass it is not easily broken and can withstand hard impacts.

This versatility and robustness made resin an ideal substance to use in art and sculpture, not least because it came with the ultimate promise; that while on the one hand something spectacular and beautiful could be created with it to delight art lovers, collectors, and anyone who wanted their home or property to feature something exceptional, it would not be fragile and vulnerable.

When you see modern sculptures such as those featuring handbags, this is the most contemporary use of resin. As the Tate notes, this has proved popular with modern sculptors - including some items in its own collection.

Some may say art is now more daring, which is arguably true, though of course everything is in the eye of the beholder. But while the likes of Damian Hirst might sometimes push the limits, we believe the representation of fashion in our resin art has a broad and more lasting appeal.