Fashion-Forward: Jane Birkin’s Gallic Style Sparks Resale Frenzy After Her Passing

The ‘Birkin effect’ has taken hold in the fashion world following the recent passing of iconic singer and style icon Jane Birkin. Birkin’s distinct sense of style, characterized by wicker baskets, cropped t-shirts, men’s blazers, and disheveled fringes, came to define the fashionable “Gallic” look. Since her death was announced, there has been a surge in interest in all things Birkin.

French-founded high-end resale site Vestiaire Collective has reported a significant increase in demand for items associated with Birkin’s effortless and nonchalant style. Breton stripes, wide-leg trousers, and A-line skirts, all synonymous with the performer’s iconic look, are now highly sought-after items on the platform.

Depop, an e-commerce site targeting a younger demographic, has also witnessed the rise of the Birkin effect. Searches for “French girl” and straw basket bags, similar to the ones Birkin famously carried during the 60s, have skyrocketed by 28% overnight.

However, it is the Birkin bag, a handbag that transcended its namesake, that is set to return to the spotlight following Birkin’s passing. Sellier, a UK-based resale site, reported a 20% increase in inquiries for the luxurious accessory. According to Vestiaire and eBay, Birkin bags are now among the top 10 most searched-for handbags.

The Birkin bag, with a starting price of approximately £7,000, was already the world’s most expensive accessory and a symbol of conspicuous consumption. Its exclusivity and desirability have made it a sought-after item, with secondhand versions often exceeding their original price in value.

The story behind the creation of the Birkin bag adds to its allure. The singer and actor found herself struggling to fit one of her Portuguese wicker baskets into the overhead compartment on a flight. Jean-Louis Dumas, the chief executive of Hermès, who happened to be her seatmate, offered a solution. Intrigued, Dumas asked Birkin for her input on an Hermès bag, leading to the birth of the Birkin bag, designed to be larger than the iconic Kelly bag but smaller than a suitcase.

The Birkin bag’s cultural cachet stems from its scarcity, as Hermès does not engage in traditional advertising. Secondhand Birkin bags experience a surge in value due to discontinuations of certain leather or color options, as well as media hype surrounding the brand. Vestiaire Collective alone has recorded over 10,000 searches for Birkin bags this year.

The passing of Jane Birkin has reignited interest in her signature style, particularly the iconic Birkin bag. Fashion enthusiasts and collectors alike are on the hunt for pieces that pay homage to her timeless and effortless aesthetic. This surge in demand showcases Birkin’s enduring influence on the fashion industry. Her legacy lives on through her iconic style and the covetable accessories associated with her name.