Hermés Birkin brings leather as the ultimate canvas for art
Hermés Birkin is far more than the most expensive handbag of all time.
This prestigious symbol of wealth is part of collections worth £1.5 million and also deserving of custom-made glass cases just to keep them safe.
Hermès first introduced it in 1984, but it’s still on the game for the ones willing to bring a classic back — this time, with its leather being a real canvas for art to gain life.
The iconic Birkin bag created by the Maison has already received tons of reinterpretations that lie between blasphemy and true masterpieces.
Jokes aside, the customization thing that seems to steal this untouchable status symbol and give it new meanings just shows us that now it’s really about the concept.
Sculptor Barbara Ségal has been exploring stone sculptures that replicate the Birkins, as a reflection of how consumerism impacts our lives and the clear obsession we have developed for these goods.
Plus, the photographer Tyler Shields went beyond that, having paid US$100,000 for a red crocodile-skin Birkin only to destroy it in the name of this art concept.
Ok, they have definitely touched some sore spots.
Want more examples?
Lady Gaga let Terence Koh scribble "I Love Little Monsters, Tokyo Love" in Japanese onto her white leather Birkin using a black marker pen. Back in 2010, the press got so shocked that responses included people saying that if they ever owned a Birkin Bag one day, they’d treat it like their own child, while Mother Monster… Well, she was never a stranger to causing a buzz.
Three years later, Kanye gifted Kim Kardashian with a Hermés Birkin featuring a painting by the contemporary artist George Condo, who had previously illustrated West's 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Some might say it ruined the bags, but what’s the reason for that?
Artists are always looking for ways to blend techniques and concepts, and nothing in art can ever be done without purpose — sometimes the goal is exactly to disturb — and seeking for authenticism is obviously connected with the reactions as well.
And what leather has to do with that? The subversivism a lot of creatives aim for needs a flexible and reliable canvas for the most exquisite interventions and performances. Leather, as few fabrics can, helps to build an artistic legacy that won’t fade, getting even more unique and imperfectly beautiful over time.
Love it or leave it, but Hermés Birkin Bag is now a surface for the most honest expressions — great news that both art and leather can last forever, right?
And excuse us, but we definitely have a thing for custom hand-painted leather. Once you get to know works such as Patrick Church’s commissions, you may agree with us on that.
Follow Hermés creative steps here.