Hermes Kelly IconPrincess

Which Hermès bag to choose ? Birkin VS Kelly

In search of timeless bags, you have decided to cross the threshold of Hermès. There, you are faced with a difficult choice: Kelly or Birkin? For formal occasions, slip on your best Kelly. For a casual chic look, opt for a Birkin.

Colors, sizes, materials... So many variations to consider when buying a handbag. However, before getting to that point, isn't it better to have a cut that really suits your personality?

History of Hermès Kelly and Birkin bags

The Kelly bag, a tribute to the grace of a princess

It was in 1935 that the bag left the Hermès workshops. At that time, it was named "bag of dispatches". and few people could have predicted such a glorious destiny for him... In 1956, 21 years later, he was propelled into the spotlight thanks to an unexpected stroke of luck.

Then pregnant with Princess Caroline, Grace Kelly, American actress and princess of Monaco, tries to hide her round belly to the paparazzi. Accused, she uses her Hermès bag to hide her curves. Despite her efforts, her early pregnancy will not escape the photographers ... The photo announcing the arrival of the princess is the front page of Life Magazine and the bag is renamed Kelly in tribute to the Princess.

Genuine Kelly 35 in black crocodile leather
Kelly 35cm black crocodile leather (Click on the image to access its file)

The Birkin bag, a compromise between elegance and practicality

The Birkin bag was conceived in 1984, following an incident that took place on a plane.

While sitting down, Jane Birkin accidentally spills the contents of her bag. Without missing a beat, she set about picking up her belongings, complaining that it was impossible to find a handbag that was large enough for everyday life while remaining sophisticated.

Her complaints did not fall on deaf ears... Just next door, Jean-Louis Dumas, then manager of Hermès, had an idea... Two years of design followed, during which Birkin and Hermès co-created a bag that would later become emblematic.

Hermes Birkin 30cm in black Togo leather. Excellent condition
Birkin 30cm in black Togo leather (Click on the image to access its file)

Kelly vs Birkin: what are the differences between the two?

It is in the genesis of these bags that their differences are born. The Kelly bag was designed to be the epitome of luxury leather goods. The Birkin bag, on the other hand, was created to follow you in your daily peregrinations.

One is a ceremonial bag, the other is an everyday bag.

Upon closer inspection of their structures, this difference between the Kelly and Brikin bags becomes a little more apparent.

Indeed, the Kelly bag has two handles and a leather strap. This gives it a more sophisticated, chic look and allows it to be worn over the shoulder if needed.

The Birkin bag, on the other hand, is similar to a refined tote bag. Worn on the shoulder or in the elbow, it has a more utilitarian function than the Kelly bag. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean it lacks sophistication. Just look at this Kwanpen Birkin shape yellow lizard to see that the shape of the Birkin remains very elegant.

Another notable difference is the closure system. True to its design motif, the Birkin bag does not need to be closed. Like a tote bag, it can be used open, allowing access to its contents with ease.

On the other hand, it is very difficult to use a Kelly bag without closing it carefully... If you dare to do so, you will feel a tension at the handle.

Which bag for which occasion?

Both, the Birkin bag is definitely the most casual. Its design makes it more versatile, which means you can slip in a spare pair of shoes, makeup and even your baby's accessories. It's a modern bag that's perfect for the urban lifestyle of fashionistas.

The Birkin bag is a little more formal. Smaller, it requires you to choose carefully what you will take with you. In exchange for this small sacrifice, it immediately adds elegance and presence to your outfit.

Ideal for chic dinners, the Kelly bag is for occasional use while the Birkin is perfect for everyday life.

Looking for one or the other? On IconPrincessYou will find luxury second hand bags that will make you the muse you have always dreamed of being...