Wednesday, July 7, 2010
the bag she described arrived at her flat with a note from Dumas
Press accounts of the bag's genesis differ in details. Birkin told noted fashion writer Dana Thomas that while seated next to Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas in 1984 on a Paris to London flight, she opened her Hermès-made datebook and a flurry of loose notes fell to the floor. Dumas took her datebook and returned it a few weeks later with a pocket sewn into the back (which has since become standard). Birkin went on to discuss with Dumas her difficulty in finding a leather weekend bag and at his prompting, described her ideal. Shortly thereafter, the bag she described arrived at her flat with a note from Dumas.A more piquant version of the story was repeated by film director Andrew Litvack. He put the year as 1981 and says that Birkin was called to Hermès to receive the first prototype. As she was leaving with the bag, they asked if she had forgotten something. Puzzled, she realized they wanted her to pay for it. Litvack claims Birkin was eventually reimbursed, and now receives a 10% discount on Hermès products.