Handbags and Accessories
Online Auction: 18–28 June 2021 • 2:00 PM BST • London

Handbags and Accessories 18–28 June 2021 • 2:00 PM BST • London

S otheby's Handbags and Accessories Online offers extraordinary examples of the finest craftsmanship from Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton amongst others. The sale features a hand-picked selection of handbags in a variety of sizes, skins and colours, as well as accessories to complement every occasion.

The Birkin Bag was originally designed for Jane Birkin in 1983 when Jean-Louis Dumas sat next to Birkin on a flight from Paris to London. After discussing the need for a larger bag for modern women, Jane actually drafted the first design of a Birkin on an airplane sickness bag. She was then invited to collaborate with the brand on the designs, and four years later the Birkin was born.

Each bag is handcrafted by specialist artisans, taking several days to finish. Leathers are obtained from different tanners across France and come in a variety of hides including Calf leather, Lizard, Ostrich, Crocodile, and Alligator. Birkins come in many sizes including the original size 40 and modern favourites 25, 30 & 35, JPG Shoulder Birkin (Designed by Jean Paul Gaultier) and the Haut á Courroies.

English actress and singer Jane Birkin at the American film festival in Deauville, Normandie, France (left) and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, pictured with Prince Rainier III in 1956 (right).

The Hermès Kelly, recognisable by its single top handle, additional shoulder strap & smaller more structured form (originally named Haut à Courroies), was created by Émile-Maurice Hermès and Ettore Bugatti for Hermès’ wife Julie. It was then redesigned by Robert Dumas, & subsequently known as Sac à Dépêches. In 1956 the late princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, used the bag to disguise her pregnancy from photographers, this thrust the bag into the spotlight, and it was officially renamed the Kelly in 1977.

"One of Louis Vuitton’s most popular products was the deluxe vertical steamer trunk, a portable wardrobe with compartments and hanging space, allowing a traveller to dress without having to unpack. Other curiosities included a leather box designed to house all the volumes of Proust’s masterpiece In Search of Lost Time and a box for the Maharaja de Baroda, once the ruler of India’s most powerful princely states, to transport his silver tea set while travelling. Another ingenious invention was Louis Vuitton’s trunk with a folding bed, designed for the French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza for his expedition to the Congo in 1876."

Rebecca Doulton, The Jewellery Editor

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