The Birkin bag is coveted by a younger audience, whose mothers-had they the means-would have carried Kelly bags. Larger than the Kelly, the Birkin is a scaled-down version of a bag Hermes originally created to hold horse saddles. The average size Birkin takes approximately 15 hours to make; larger ones require 25 to 30 hours. Like other Hermes bags, the Birkin is made almost entirely by hand in Hermes ateliers by artisans who must apprentice for at least two years with Hermes's senior leather craftsmen to qualify for their jobs.
The current mania for Birkin bags is hard to describe, as it borders on pathological. In fact, there are numerous blogs devoted exclusively to acquiring and owning Birkins. Birkin bloggers spend untold hours sharing celebrity Birkin sightings (Posh Spice photos abound) and arranging international trips to Hermes boutiques.