Handbags & Accessories

Is the Hermès Shadow Birkin the Ultimate Symbol of Quiet Luxury?

By Annabelle Pollack
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Shadow Birkin Cut

Is the Hermès Shadow Birkin the Ultimate Symbol of Quiet Luxury? 

As the quiet luxury trend continues to grow, we observe a shift in fashion. Quiet luxury buyers are focused on high quality, sophisticated, yet subtle accessory choices. Tightening the borders of exclusivity by conveying status through mysterious minimalistic products you’ll only recognize on others if you know about them yourself. The Sotheby's Handbag team keeps these trends top of mind as we continue to source the most exclusive Hermès bags from around the world.

Two pillars of the quiet luxury trend are timelessness and quality. Nothing exudes these aspects more than the iconic Birkin. Known for the highest quality leather and craftsmanship out of France, Hermès has maintained its desirability throughout the mansion's history. The most popular Hermès bags, the Birkin and Kelly have no logos but are clearly the two of most recognizable bags to luxury buyers. However, with rising prices and demand exceeding the available bags - it's no easy task to obtain a Birkin bag.

Shadow Birkin 25 Black

Hermès Shadow Birkin

There's one Birkin edition that says quiet luxury like no other: the Shadow Birkin. Created in 2009 by Jean Paul Gaultier, the shadow Birkin is a modern take on the classic Birkin. This illustrious bag was aimed to create a trompe-l'oeil effect by alluding to the top flap and classic hardware on the original bag. Despite not having the attached plaque, flap, lock, clochette and tiret, the bag continues to communicate its Birkin status through the emblematic shape and the illusions created. Made from premium evercalf leather, this bag is offered in limited colors. At the helm of Hermès in 2009, Gaultier achieved the ultimate symbol of quiet luxury years before the birth of the quiet luxury trend. The Birkin 25 Shadow bag was re-released in 2021 in limited quantities. The re-released Shadow Birkin 25 sold for as high as $52,000 in April 2022. This peak price often occurs when a new limited edition bag first comes to the secondary market. Prices for a store fresh condition Shadow Birkin 25 have leveled off around $30,000 with the possibility to purchase the bag for slightly less at auction. This price is consistent with a store fresh leather Birkin 25 in a popular neutral color on the secondary market.

Birkin Shadow Cut

Hermès Shadow Birkin Cut

In 2022, Hermès released the Shadow Birkin Cut. This new clutch is similar to the Hermès Kelly Cut in the size but the minimalist design is similar to the Shadow Birkin. The simple clutch has the same trompe-l'oeil effect for the flap. Both the Hermès Kelly Cut and Birkin Shadow Cut have been popular with buyers so this style tends to sell quickly when it is listed at Sotheby's. The Hermès Shadow Birkin Cut has been selling for about $14,000 on the secondary market. Similar to other bags, the Shadow Birkin Cut generally sells for slightly less at auction, closer to $11,000-12,000.

While trends come and go, at the core of the most desired luxury brands is high quality craftsmanship and enduring styles. Quiet luxury has always been the non-trend trend that has driven luxury sales for generations. The Hermès Shadow Birkin and Shadow Birkin Cut are two bags that fit squarely into the non-trend trend of Quiet Luxury.

Hermès Birkin Bags Available For Purchase

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