Archive | Birkin Bag Blog

A Guide to the Hermès Constance

At almost 60 years old, you’d think that the Hermès Constance handbag design might look a little out of date, or old fashioned but no, it’s still going strong and is going through a surge in popularity.  Over the last two years rumours of it being discontinued have abounded, (as they have for the famous Himalaya Birkin handbag), but instead of it being discontinued, we are seeing more models of it being designed and released.

Favoured by Jackie Onassis back in the 1960’s, the Hermès Constance can be seen carried by actress Diane Kruger, the socialite Nicky Hilton, the former Mrs Abramovich, Dasha Zhukova, amongst several others.

The simple and elegant design of the Hermès Constance features the iconic H clasp on the front flap, and a long leather strap which can also be doubled to carry the bag in the hand.

Bamboo Constance in Swift Leather with Palladium Hardware

The Constance has been the subject of a few minor redesigns over the years, but the sleek lines and distinctive curves have been maintained and the bag has lost none of its appeal. It is the most complicated of the Hermès bags to make, with an intricate design, and as a result the price is more than you would expect for a small Hermès bag, at €7,000 for a standard 24cm calf leather.

Particularly popular at the moment is the Constance Mini which measures 18cm by 15cm by 6cm: it’s just big enough to carry a few daytime essentials (as long as you travel light), and small enough to make a neat little evening bag. Lilac Blue London currently has available a lovely selection of this cute bag – a vivid Bamboo Constance in Swift Leather with Palladium Hardware, an even brighter Hermès Constance Lagoon Tadelakt with Palladium Hardware, an Orange Poppy Constance in Swift Leather and a very chic Hermès Constance 18cm Black Optique Veau Monsieur Enamel with enamel hardware.

The next size up is the 24cm by 15cm x 5cm, not much larger but possibly a little more practical as a daytime bag.  The Constance 24cm Beton Evercolor is a very versatile cool pale grey shade with rose gold hardware or if you prefer a gorgeous summer colour, the Constance 24cm Rose Extreme Epsom is always a sought after shade for the warmer months!

In 2010 Hermès offered a slightly longer and slimmer version, the Constance Elan, measuring 25cm x 14cm x 8cm which has the look more of a clutch bag than a shoulder bag.  It’s particularly hard to find but there are occasionally preloved bags available.

Hermes Constance 25cm Black Elan Silk GHW – Vintage

If you’re a lover of Hermès Vintage, then how about this absolutely beautiful Hermès Constance 25cm Black Elan Silk GHW in Black Silk with Gold Hardware? Carry this and you will, without doubt feel like Jackie O!

A brand new model this month has the optique clasp, an enamelled multi coloured highly-textured clasp, which Hermès traditionally used on bracelets.   Another lovely aspect of this Hermes Constance 18cm Black Optique Veau Monsieur Enamel is the new leather being used for it: it’s called Veau Monsieur, which we are calling Gentleman’s Calfskin. You have to love the translation.

Hermes Constance 18cm Black Optique Veau Monsieur Enamel

Do get in touch if you’d like more information on the Hermès Constance, Hermès Birkin or Hermès Kelly, or arrange to come and visit our Mayfair Showroom, close to Bond Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly.

Please either email us at contact@lilacblue.com or call us on +44 (0)845 224 8876

 

 

Pretty in Pink

The sun is shining, Spring is here and we have the sweetest selection of Hermès handbags in all different shades of pink and we have to admit, they look almost good enough to eat!

A vibrant pop of pink is a wonderful way to breathe new life into your Spring Summer wardrobe and here at Lilac Blue London we have an array of styles in the most compact sizes, for moments when you only want to take a few essentials out with you and travel light.

If you’re looking to upgrade your Hermès collection, fast track your style for the season ahead and turn your thoughts to Summer, here’s our pick of mood-enhancing pretty in pink styles…

Hermes Medor Clutch Rose Sakura Tadelakt PHW

Shop Here: Rose Sakura Medor Clutch

In the prettiest dusky soft pink, the distinctive Hermes Medor Clutch Rose Sakura Tadelakt PHW is a great choice for someone who likes to dress in feminine styles with a slight edge.

This style fits beautifully and comfortably in the hand but can also be carried under the arm and the statement Collier de Chien hardware also allows the bag to be made smaller or wider as necessary.

In Tadelakt leather with Palladium Hardware, the full measurements of this style are: 23cm x 11cm x 5cm with a T stamp and 3Q colour code.

Magnolia Jige Elan in Swift

Shop Here: Magnolia Jige Elan

How amazing is the colour of the Magnolia Jige Elan in Swift? The Hermès Jige Clutch has been a firm favourite of Hermès for a long time but this simple and chic design never loses its appeal. This envelope style clutch bag makes an ideal evening bag and is a new colourway that was introduced in Autumn 2018.

This C Stamp style in Swift leather with a 9l Colour code is a real beauty and will look amazing for daytime wear or a special occasion. The measurements of this style are 29cm x 15cm x 3cm.

Rose Pourpre Mini Kelly in Epsom

Shop Here: Rose Pourpre Kelly 20

The 20cm Mini Kelly style is already a hugely desirable little bag but we absolutely love this style in the Rose Pourpre, a vibrant pink with purple undertones, which is a new colour from Spring 2018.

Bigger than the Kelly Micro but smaller than the classic Kelly but still with enough room to fit in a few essentials such as a lipstick, smart phone and keys.

With stunning Chevre leather and Palladium Hardware, this is such a striking bag and will see you through the warmer months year after year! Full measurements are: 20cm x 14cm x 9cm, the colour code is L3 and this style is a C stamp.

Rose Azalée Kelly Mini Pochette in Swift with Gold Hardware

Shop Here: Rose Azalee Mini Pochette

Hermès has so many pinks to choose from but Rose Azalee is one of our favourites as it’s bright but not overpowering and is a very refreshing shade for Spring and Summer.

Featuring gold hardware and a 8W Colour Code, this C Stamp Kelly Mini Pochette will be a stylish addition to your outfit for weddings, the races, weekends and everything in between! The dimensions of this style are 22cm x 14cm x 7cm.

Rose Jaipur Kelly Wallet in Epsom

Shop Here: Rose Jaipur Kelly Wallet

Last but by no means least is this gorgeous Kelly Wallet in a pinky coral red Rose Jaipur shade that is guaranteed to stand out from the crowd. In the perfect size, this classic Epsom leather wallet has the is also very light and scratch proof. The colour code is T5 and the measurements when closed are 19.7 x 11.5cm. The wallet comes with the original receipt and all accessories including the box and dustbag.

 

If you would like to book an appointment at our London showroom to view the latest pink styles by Hermès or any other styles from the Lilac Blue London collection, please call on +44 845 224 8876 or email info@lilacblue.com for more information.

The Bag of the Moment: Hermès Birkin 30cm Gris Perle Rose Extreme HSS Chevre PHW

We are delighted to announce that we have had a beautiful special order Hermès Birkin 30cm Gris Perle Rose Extreme arrive into the showroom and this neutral style with a pop of pink is certainly not to be missed!

In a super delicate gris perle shade with contrasting piping, this unique style has such fantastic definition and we are convinced this Birkin won’t be available for very long!

The main benefit of this superb style is that it is crafted in the most exquisite Chevre Mysore goatskin that is almost completely scratch resistant, helping the bag to retain its pristine look and feel over time.

Whilst this type of leather is not as well-known as the popular Togo and Epsom leather, the grain is soft, highly pronounced and runs vertically down the handbag.

With a C stamp from early 2019 and colour codes 80 and 16, this lightweight style is the perfect transitional piece for Spring and Summer’s warmer months. The deep pink on this style has been used on the piping, the stitching and the interior, adding a distinctive touch to this very versatile style.

Another cool feature of this bag is the brushed palladium metalware. As it has a matte effect, it is slightly more resistant to scratches, keeping this style in the best possible condition with any wear.

If you are looking for a Spring handbag update, this style will breathe new life into your existing wardrobe and can be styled for both casual and more dressy occasions. We love!

For more information on this style please call +44 845 224 8876 or email info@lilacblue.com to book an appointment at our Lilac Blue London Showroom. Alternatively, you can shop the Hermès Birkin 30cm Gris Perle/Rose Extreme HSS Chevre PHW online here.

The Bag of the Moment: Hermès Kelly 28cm Gris Asphalte Evercolour

Here at Lilac Blue London, we see so many beautiful Hermès handbags in our showroom it’s always difficult to pinpoint a particular favourite.  So rather than pick a particularly beautiful bag that appeals to me today, I have instead chosen the current most popular and sought-after Hermès piece.

The honour goes to the Hermès Kelly 28cm in the new Gris Asphalte grey tone (colour code M8), in the new Evercolour leather.

In a similar neutral colour palette to the ever popular classic etoupe, mixed with the paler Gris Tourterelle dove grey shade, Gris Asphalte is a very versatile mix between brown, grey and taupe.

The new Evercolour leather is most similar to togo in texture but has a slightly smoother finish.  This gives it a slightly dressier look than that of the classic togo, so its transition from day to evening accessory is now seamless. It’s fully lined in goatskin, is durable and scratch resistant.

This bag is also c-stamp for 2018/19 and is finished with shiny gold hardware.

There is little doubt that part of the appeal of these Hermès bags is their unmatched ability to stand the test of time and age beautifully.  And beyond that, this bag works seamlessly with all fashion seasons and any outfit choice including casual weekend options, workwear or evening looks.

It has a secure zip pocket inside and raincoat to protect the leather from any sudden downpours as well as a lock and key, and the lovely orange Hermès box, this style is one to keep forever as it will never date.

Not only is this bag the perfect small to medium size, it comes with a longer shoulder strap and dustbag so it’s a super wearable, elegant style for every occasion.

You can shop the Hermès Kelly 28cm Gris Asphalte Evercolour here.

 

Five Facts about the Hermès Kelly Bag that may surprise you!

The Kelly bag from Hermès has been an iconic and sought-after style for decades and has been worn by some of the most elegant women across the world.

Here at Lilac Blue London, we have many Kelly styles to choose from including this gorgeous C stamp, petite matte alligator bag with palladium hardware. Better known as the Mini Kelly, this bag is an ideal choice for someone who loves to carry only a few fashionable essentials!

Investing in the perfect small evening bag such as the Hermès Kelly will not only be an incredibly special purchase, but it will always look stylish for generations to come.

Shop Here: Black Mini Kelly in Matte Alligator

As one of our best-selling styles, we wanted to share five facts about the Hermès Kelly Bag that may surprise you…

  1. Did you know the first prototype of the Hermès Kelly Bag was in fact meant to hold a saddle or boots, since Hermès’ original focus used to be horseback riding accessories? In time, this style has changed into the elegant haute couture ladies bag we know today.
  2. Every Hermès Kelly Bag is unique and is handmade by one craftsman, taking around 25 hours per bag. The Kelly Bag in particular has approximately 2,600 hand stitches.
  3. The bag is a top handle style and was designed to be worn by ‘the princesses of the world’, hence why it is such a sophisticated design.
  4. During the Second World War, supplies of the original Hermès boxes, at first cream-coloured with a golden border, then beige with brown piping, ran out. The cardboard maker only had orange paper left so this colour then became Hermès’s signature colour.
  5. The Kelly Bag played a key role in the movie Le Divorce with Kate Hudson and Emma Watson. In the film, the bag served as a gift that changed everything and was loaned to director James Ivory from the Hermès showroom in Paris.

If you would like to come and see our selection of Hermès styles or you are interested in the Hermès Kelly Bag in Black Matte Alligator, why not visit the Lilac Blue London showroom. To book an appointment, please call us on +44 845 224 8876 or email info@lilacblue.com  for more information.

The super stylish everyday bag: Saint Laurent Sac de Jour

The iconic Saint Laurent Sac de Jour in Black with an embossed golden Saint Laurent signature is an excellent option if you’re looking to invest in a premium quality, minimalist bag with a modern edge.

Not only is this 100% calf leather everyday bag the perfect size for dashing from one meeting to the next, the size and style of this bag will take you from a business brunch straight through to cocktails in an instant.

The shape is completely timeless and looks effortlessly subtle whilst also adding the perfect finishing touch to any look. We can imagine this bag would look equally amazing with a tailored suit and heels as it would with a pair of skinny jeans, boots and a leather jacket at the weekend.

The structured accordion sides makes this style super spacious, for all your everyday essentials such as a laptop, diary and other must haves. What is also so clever about this bag is the way the sides have compression tabs so it can look even more compact if you need to carry less too.

If you’re looking to invest in a preloved handbag that will most definitely stand the test of time, this is one of our ultimate top picks to take you from day to evening.

You can shop the Saint Laurent Sac de Jour style here or alternatively email the Lilac Blue team on info@lilacblue.com to arrange an appointment at our showroom.

Shop Here: https://bit.ly/2GGTawy

The Rise of the Preloved Market

Lilac Blue London has long been aware of the virtue of buying your bag “second hand” or “preloved” –  the term we prefer.  Buying a preloved bag is a great introduction to Hermes and it’s why we have two categories ~ GOOD AS NEW and VINTAGE/PRELOVED on our website devoted to them, there are some really beautiful bags there.

Lisa Armstrong, head of fashion at The Telegraph has written an interesting and informative article on the growth of the preloved market in luxury handbags – read it in full here:

Why This Year’s It Bag is an old bag.

If you are interested in any of our As New or Preloved bags then please get in touch via WhatsApp  +44 7887 409934 or email contact@lilacblue.com.

Birkin 35 in Black Shiny Croc

Vintage Black Silk Constance

Gold Birkin 35

 

 

 

 

Good As New

A brand new Hermes handbag is one of the most precious accessories you will ever buy.  You know that the bag is in pristine condition and it will feel and smell perfect, in its orange box with all the trimmings.  But buying a Birkin or Kelly from Hermes can take months or years, and the premium on one from a reseller such as ourselves can be costly.  So you might want to consider the Preloved market.    Obviously there are limitations here in the terms of choice but in general there is a good selection of bags in varying conditions at equally varying prices.

At Lilac Blue London we have a number of bags which come under the category of Preloved, but they are in such good condition that you would hardly know that they weren’t brand new.  To help you find these we have decided to create a new area called Good As New and have selected some of our Preloved Hermes bags, as well as a few from Chanel which are in near perfect condition.  If you are interested in any of these bags then do please call us on +44 845 224 8876 or email contact@lilacblue.com for more detailed information.

Lilac Blue London’s First Foray into Fundraising

We are happy to announce that our crazy donation to the Type 1 Diabetes Party at LAPADA Art and Antiques fair raised £15,000 for JDRF. The bag caused a frenzy at the live auction and the audience loved seeing it as it was paraded around the dinner party.

We decided to work with this charity because it’s such an unknown condition which is increasing at an alarming rate. If you’d like to find out more, please go to the JDRF website.

 

 

 

Handbag Prices reduced to celebrate our sponsorship of the LAPADA Charity Party.

Lilac Blue London, one of the foremost specialist luxury handbag boutiques in London, is raising money for type 1 Diabetes and is dropping prices on key bags.

Every Monday for the next 3 weeks a new range of Hermes and Chanel bags will be offered at amazing prices.  This week: exotic skins: ostrich and crocodile Hermes, Kellies and Chanel.

Then join us on 17 September at LAPADA in Berkeley Square where we will be auctioning a brand new Black Birkin 35cm…..

The Brexit political turmoil has lowered the UK currency substantially.  So bags are nearly at prices you will find AT HERMES in some countries.

For the first time, you can choose exactly which bag you would like, at a price close to that at Hermes, without having to buy Hermes scarves, jewellery or cashmere…. AND enjoy the wonderful Lilac Blue customer service.

Buy one of these extraordinary pieces and know that 25% of our profit will go to the JDRF charity, to help find a cure for juvenile Type 1 Diabetes.

Birkin 25 in Black Shiny Crocodile with Silver hardware at £40,000

Birkin 30 Rouge Hermes and Burgundy ‘Ghillies’ limited edition in Matte Crocodile £38,000

Kelly 28 in Malachite Green Matte Alligator £46,000

HAC 50 Saffron in Ostrich – reconditioned vintage and a very unusual piece £40,000

 

Kelly Pochette in Aubergine Shiny Crocodile £21,000

Hermes Date Stamps – The Guide

Why check a date stamp?
Purchasing a genuine Hermes bag is a process which can be difficult – there are a lot of inauthentic bags out there, and the people making those bags are always looking at ways to deceive prospective buyers.  Hermes is unusual in that they do not issue certificates of authentication, unlike other leading brands like Chanel.  The Hermes use of date stamps is one way to help ensure that the bag you buy is genuine – it should not be used as the only method, but an understanding of how the date stamp works will help you.  It is always advisable to use an experienced and trusted reseller of Hermes handbags – Lilac Blue London has years of experience in identifying genuine bags and is always happy to help.

What is the date stamp and where is it found?
Each bag is marked with a date or blind stamps which are codes embedded in the leather indicating both the year of manufacture and the identity of the artisan who created the bag.  Between 1945 and 1971 it was just the letter on its own but from 1971 to 2014 the letters were enclosed either in a circle or a square.  These stamps were always located on the back of the closure strap but they can now be found close to the back flap, on the left side.

Stamps denoting exotic leathers
In addition to the date stamp, there are additional symbols to indicate different leathers, for example alligator is an empty square, porosus crocodile is ˄, nilocitus crocodile is ••, and lizard is.  If you are buying a Special Order bag this will be shown by a Horseshoe stamp next to the Hermes logo on the inside – hence the description HSS on some Special Order bags.

Examples of where to find the date stamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Exotic Skin symbols:

 

 

 

 

Horseshoe Stamp denoting a Special Order Bag:

 

 

 

 

Hermes Date Stamps since 1945: 

No Shape Circle Square No Square & inside flap
1945 A 1971 A 1997 A 2015 T
1946 B 1972 B 1998 B 2016 X
1947 C 1973 C 1999 C 2017 A
1948 D 1974 D 2000 D 2018 C
1949 E 1975 E 2001 E 2019 D
1950 F 1976 F 2002 F  
1951 G 1977 G 2003 G  
1952 H 1978 H 2004 H  
1953 I 1979 I 2005 I  
1954 J 1980 J 2006 J  
1955 K 1981 K 2007 K  
1956 L 1982 L 2008 L  
1957 M 1983 M 2009 M  
1958 N 1984 N 2010 N  
1959 O 1985 O 2011 O  
1960 P 1986 P 2012 P  
1961 Q 1987 Q 2013 Q  
1962 R 1988 R 2014 R  
1963 S 1989 S    
1964 T 1990 T    
1965 U 1991 U    
1966 V 1992 V    
1967 W 1993 W    
1968 X 1994 X    
1969 Y 1995 Y    
1970 Z 1996 Z  

If you require any help in understanding the Hermes date stamp, or would like some advice on authenticating a bag, then please get in touch with Lilac Blue London either via email: contact@lilacblue.com or telephone: +44 (0)845 224 8876.

images from Lilac Blue London, Bagsnob, Portero & Bags of Luxury

Why Buy a Hermes Bag? As an investment of course!

In Miami in 2016 a handbag sold for $298,000 (approximately £205,000).  A simple handbag.  Hailed as the most expensive handbag ever to sell, it was a Hermes Birkin made in bright red shiny crocodile with white gold straps encrusted with 10 carats of diamonds.    It was purchased in 2008 for half the price but never worn.   This June  a 2008 Himalaya Birkin, which features a diamond-encrusted 18k white gold lock, sold for £162,500, a price that exceeded the £155,000 paid for a navy Croc Birkin in 2017, both sold by Christie’s.

What was once considered an attractive accessory has turned into one of the world’s most lucrative investments.     Even ten years into the phenomenon, the trend continues to amaze people.

There are a number of reasons for the phenomenon.   If you consider other relatively new investment vehicles – wine, watches, and classic cars – they are all now accepted as alternative investment pieces, and are often highly profitable.   Now the once modest handbag has joined the club of these ‘passion assets’.  In general, they have become worthy investments through finite supply:  like a bottle of Romanee Conti or a limited edition Patek Philippe.    And as the world moves to more highly automated systems and machine-made goods, an awareness of the higher quality of handmade products has emerged.

The prices of classic cars started to rise in the 1990s.  An appreciation of the highly skilled workmanship, coupled with the romance and challenge of the gearstick, started to appeal to North American and then to European markets.   Cars outperformed the global stock market between 2005 and 2016.  Just this year, the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti sold for a record breaking £24.7m.

The story is similar these days with vintage bags.  On a smaller, more manageable scale.

30cm Mykonos Birkin in Ostrich with Palladium Hardware

Mrs Thompson in Battersea, London, hadn’t worn her 1985 Hermes Kelly in ostrich leather more than twice.   Clearing through her wardrobe one rainy November afternoon she came across it and approached Lilac Blue London to value and sell it.   We estimate the bag cost her £550 in 1985.    It has just been sold at £12,000.

35cm Graphite Kelly in Shiny Croc with Palladium Hardware

Or Mrs Mills in Suffolk, who had a collection of Hermes handbags bought in Las Vegas in 2000.  Her 35cm black crocodile Kelly was recently sold at £17,000.  The cost 16 years ago would have been approximately £5,000.

As the Times London explained: “Consider the following: in the 35 years since it was created, the value of the Hermes Birkin has gone up by 500 percent. That’s a better return on investment than gold or the stock market…. Why has this happened? In a nutshell, because even if you can afford them, they’re incredibly difficult to buy.”

In essence the bag itself has become a loved and cherished item, and at the same time handbags have become status symbols.  So combined together, these factors have turned an everyday accessory into a powerful investment piece.

So while older and vintage bags can be sold at high prices, New Hermes Birkin and Kelly bags sell at a premium of up to 100% because buying them is a serious challenge.   There are no more waiting lists in the UK: Hermes could not deal with the queues waiting outside the Bond Street store on the days the waiting list would open.   So to buy a bag takes serious application, patience, and expenditure on other goods in the store, and as a result, it becomes extremely desirable.

Then there is the new phenomenon of the handbag as a status symbol.

Historically, Europeans would buy one lovely handbag on a very special occasion.     So a lady had one or perhaps two luxurious handbags that she could hand down.    European royalty collected handbags: the Queen has a wonderful collection of Launer handbags.  But mere mortals would only have a few pieces.    Then, over the last 20 years, the popularity of handbags has grown in general, and as Hollywood A-listers started building collections of Hermes and Chanel bags, it became acceptable for well-heeled ladies to build collections of their most cherished accessories, and Hermes is at the very top of the list of luxury houses.

The Mastery of Hermes

How has Hermes managed to stay at the top, in creating the most desired handbag the world has ever known?   There is no doubt that this was never planned.  In no time in fashion history has a handbag achieved such status. But Hermes has harnessed and managed the situation extraordinarily well.   In order to increase the desirability of the bags, the iconic French brand limits the production of certain models.  They claim that only the finest artisans are able to create the Kelly and Birkin handbags, and with each bag taking up to 25 hours to make, they are unable to keep up with the demand.  With resellers selling the bags at vast premiums, Hermes is able to increase prices year on year, up to 10% per annum.  The classic Birkin 35cm is now just over £7,000 in a Hermes boutique.

What must not be overlooked is that this phenomenon could never have taken place without the creation of extremely beautiful products.   The style of Hermes bags is generally classic: the Kelly is a relatively formal bag which works extremely well at formal occasions.   The Birkin is a more practical piece; the size 35cm can hold enormous amounts (I have carried a laptop, travel documents and an ipad in one) but has no shoulder strap.

The handbags are created with the best leathers, in the best tanneries, and in a range of colours that no other luxury house can begin to achieve.    This Bleu Paradis limited edition Kelly from 2016 is one of 8 different shades of blue produced by Hermes in the last 5 years.

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How to get your hands on one

If you are looking to buy a bag, first you should try your nearest Hermes boutique.  If you look beautiful and elegant enough, you may be given the chance to buy directly, if there happens to be one available.  If you would rather be able to choose the size, colour and leather, you might want to try a reseller.  Just make sure they are reputable and you can meet them before sending any funds. To buy a bag for an investment, see our article ‘how to choose an investment piece’.

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