Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hermès Birkin Sold for $185,000!

Sold, for $185,000! 'Extraordinarily rare' diamond-encrusted Hermès Birkin bag made from albino crocodile skin sells at auction 

  • The Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin Bag is described as 'the rarest and most desirable handbag in the world' 
  • Its skin came from an exceptionally pale Hermès-bred crocodile, said to be 'almost an albino'
  • The winning bidder has chosen to remain anonymous
  • A rare Hermès tote sold at auction yesterday to an anonymous bidder for $185,000, the second-highest price ever paid for a Birkin bag.
    The Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin - encrusted with 245 diamonds, boasting 18-karat white gold hardware and crafted from extremely pale crocodile skin - sent bidders into a frenzy via phone, online and in person at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.
    Managing Director of the auction house, Kathleen Guzman told CBS MoneyWatch: 'Hermès raises crocodiles on its own farm, breeding them to have very light coloring. 'But then to search for a crocodile that has almost an albino skin is extraordinarily rare.'

    Eye-watering: This rare Hermès Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin (pictured) sold at auction yesterday to an anonymous bidder for $185,000, the second-highest price ever paid for a Birkin bag
    Eye-watering: This rare Hermès Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin (pictured) sold at auction yesterday to an anonymous bidder for $185,000, the second-highest price ever paid for a Birkin bag

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hermès’ Handbag Could Break Record Price For Diamond Birkin

Luxury Accessories:Bags, Hermes Extraordinary Collection 30cm Diamond, Matte Himalayan NiloCrocodile Birkin Bag with 18K White Gold Hardware. Pris... Image #1
BEVERLY HILLS ( — A Hermès handbag could break the world’s record price for a diamond Birkin when it goes up for sale during a public auction next week.
That’s according to the auction house, Heritage Auctions.
Current online bidding for the Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin bag, which is adorned with 18-karat white gold hardware, is already at $137,000, Heritage Auctions said in a news release.
The bag will be sold at an auction next Tuesday in Beverly Hills along with hundreds of other handbags from top designers.
“This bag is so rare and sought-after that there’s a very good chance it could meet or exceed the world record price we saw three years ago,” said Kathleen Guzman, a Managing Director at Heritage Auctions.
She added, “This is the only time that a bag of this caliber has appeared on the luxury re-sale market. This is a dream piece for the collection of true Hermes aficionados.”
Auctioneers believe the bag’s price could surpass the 2011 sale of a diamond Birkin for $203,150.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Meet the Hermes Gallery Girl

Photo: Courtesy of Hermes
Walking into the Hermès store on Madison Avenue is like walking into a bright orange shoebox (filled, of course, with some seriously stunning shoes). The first floor has the most delicious silk scarves, the second floor has clothing that define French-style, and the third floor has everything you could ever wish to decorate your home with.
Last night, attendees of a party thrown by Hermès got a peek at the fourth floor: A gallery space used only a few times a year, in this case to showcase a collection of 11 works by artist Sharon Harper.
The photographs were hand-selected by Cory Jacobs, the curator of the Gallery at Hermès. Sound like the chicest job ever? We thought so. Here, we learn more about the current exhibit on view at Hermès and what a day in the life of this gallery girl is like.
Related: Meet Hermès' Secret Weapon: Bali Barret
Tell us a little bit about the exhibit!
We just installed the Sharon Harper show, which is opening to the public today, Friday, September 19. Sharon is a fascinating artist with whom I am so thrilled to be collaborating. She is constantly trying to confound our expectations of time and space. Her works explores the intersection of technology and perception using the moon, stars, and sun as her subjects. The work also happens to be startlingly beautiful. It slows you down.
Photo: Courtesy of Hermes
We always love hearing about new female artists that art industry insiders love. In addition to Sharon Harper, is there anyone’s work that we should keep our eyes on?
I feel very proud that The Gallery at Hermès has an excellent track record in supporting female artists. Artists we have championed include Sharon Core, Martine Fougeron, Rinko Kawauchi, Martina Hoogland-Ivanow, Miranda Lichtenstein, and Victoria Sambunaris. They are all doing interesting things!
You should be on the look out for a new, knock-out monograph Victoria Sambunaris just published called Taxonomy of a Landscape. I showed a remarkable body of her work for the first show I curated here.
Related: Hermés Puts on One Hell of a Carvinal
What does a day at your job look like?
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is selecting the artists we exhibit and giving them a great platform to show their work. My selection is then approved by the Foundation in Paris and then we're off and running. So a big part of my job is staying up to date with the artists and what they are working on. I do this online and also visit artists' studios, galleries, museums, art fairs, and photography festivals. My job involves not only the selection of the artist and the work we show, but also the budgeting, production, press, etc.
What’s the best way to discover new art?
Of course the best way is to get out there and visit galleries and museums. But there are so many great avenues online from blogs, to sites like Artsy and Exhibition A.
Can you tell us a little bit about Hermès commitment to the arts?
Hermès has many galleries around the world like The Gallery at Hermès that exhibit contemporary art. Every year the curators converge in Paris for an annual meeting to present their work for the year and I am always amazed at how many truly talenteds international artists are supported by the Foundation.
In addition to mounting gallery shows, the Foundation also supports artists through residency programs and prizes. The Foundation also recently co-produced a major exhibition at the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France called Simple Shapes. I had the pleasure of seeing it this summer and I can report it is one of my favorite museum shows I've seen in recent memory. Worth the trip. It's up through May 1, 2015.
What have been some of the most memorable shows you’ve worked on since being at Hermès?
Like children, it's hard to pick just one!  I've really enjoyed each and every exhibition for different reasons. I feel very grateful I'm able to spend so much time getting to know each artist through the process of putting the shows together. It often spans a full year from start to finish.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Worker: Boutique sold fake designer bags as the real thing

Worker: Boutique sold fake designer bags as the real thing An ex-employee says Tisha Collette (left) would sell fake designer handbags as if they were real ones; like the fake Birkin bag doctor Tara Allmen unknowingly bought (right).

A Hamptons boutique owner routinely bought fake designer bags, slapped them with luxury labels, mixed them with the real things and peddled them as originals, her former assistant claims.
Collette Consignment owner Tisha Collette “would bring in counterfeit handbags from locations in Queens, unpack them, remove the plastic wrapping, hang tags and paper stuffing, then tag the items as Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton luxury handbags for sale,” the ex-employee, Cathy Silverstein, says in a scathing new Manhattan court affidavit.
“It was a common practice to mix and sell counterfeit handbags with authentic handbags and other luxury items to customers,” Silverstein added.
The statement was submitted as part of a prominent Manhattan doctor’s lawsuit against Collette, claiming that the shop owner duped her into buying a fake secondhand Birkin bag.
Tara Allmen, a gynecologist who frequently appears on TV programs such as “The Dr. Oz Show,” charges in her suit that Collette is a fraud.
Allmen said she was humiliated to discover that the supposed secondhand Birkin bag she bought from Collette for $3,425 was worth a mere $75 when she took it to the Hermès store on Madison Avenue for a cleaning. The bags sell for $20,000 new.
The fake Birkin back that Tara Allmen bought from Collette Consignment.

Collette’s lawyer, Patricia Weiss, responds in court papers that Silverstein’s “opinion of defendant’s business practices is irrelevant because her affidavit contains nothing about the purchase transaction of the single item in this lawsuit.”
Weiss notes that Allmen’s store receipt from the Southampton store in September 2005 describes the purchase with only one word—“orange”—and does not specify the designer or that it was even a handbag.
“Therefore, plaintiff has no testimonial evidence to support her allegations in her claim for fraud,” Weiss says.
Allmen, who says she has spent $40,000 at Collette’s stores between 2005 and 2013, countered in an interview, “Tisha Collette can lie all she wants. I will prevail.”

A handbag for the price of a house

In the global marketplace, where everything is readily accessible to anyone with extra cash, the definition of luxury is elusive. For those who can afford it, the very word "luxury" has become as overused and meaningless as the old catchphrase "new and improved."
Post-recession, the rich are looking beyond the "more is better" philosophy and instead, choosing to purchase items they view as truly luxurious. Those that make the cut are typically one-of-a-kind, crafted of exceptional quality and have a history that has meaning to the new owner, says Cara David, managing partner at YouGov.
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions,
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

This handbag deserves its own security guard

For handbag aficionados, the iconic Hermes Birkin has long been at the top of the list of covetable items. And for those who truly seek to redefine luxury, the vintage, one-of-a-kind Birkin headed for the auction block later this month ticks all the boxes.
The crocodile bag, encrusted with 245 diamonds and 18-carat gold hardware, is "meant to evoke images of the majestic Himalayan mountains," according to Heritage Auctions, which is offering the bag to the highest bidder in a sale later this month. Experts expect it to smash previous records and fetch as much as $200,000, according to London's Daily Mail.

How the rich are buying now

David says The Survey of Affluence and Wealth, by Time Inc. and YouGov, finds that the affluent feel that luxury is less about price than it is about experience. "Luxury is in the eyes of the beholder," she adds. "It's very personal, and what might define luxury for one person is different than it is for someone else."
In the survey, 70 percent of respondents indicate that in the wake of the recession they are buying fewer items, but they want higher quality. Even more interesting, 52 percent say they actively take part in auctions, partly because they feel they are getting a better price for something unique, David notes, and partly because it gives them an enjoyable experience.

The thrill of exploration

Buying at auction is different than your run-of-the-mill shopping trip, David says, because you have the adventure of an unknown outcome and an unusual story to go with your acquisition.
The diamond Birkin is more than a handbag, David says. It's a collectible and, as with any other collectible -- whether it's fine wines, watches or vintage toys -- the ultimate luxury is the thrill that comes from obtaining the top of the line. "It's about enhancing the quality of life with the acquisition," she adds. "It's about the story behind it."
In that way, buying at auction becomes sort of like travel, she adds. For 87 percent of survey respondents, the ultimate goal of luxury is to allow for more meaningful experiences. Auctions are viewed as not only a fun activity, but a chance to have that experience.
"If you think about the experience of travel -- exploring the new and unknown, the memories, the first-class service -- and then you think about retail these days, is there anything about retail that replicates that? Not much," says David. But auctions still do, she adds.
"Luxury has more to do with the time spent versus the things purchased," she says. The rich want to know, "Is the time it's taking to make this purchase valuable to me?"
For more auction news: You won't believe what they're auctioning off at an event commemorating country-music star Waylon Jennings.

By Judy Martel ·

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Jane Birkin is auctioning off one of her namesake Hermes bags on eBay

Jane Birkin is auctioning off one of her namesake Hermes bags.
The Brit actress has decided to put the sought-after accessory on the web marketplace to raise money for Anno's Africa which seeks to offer an arts education to orphans in the continent's most deprived cities.
The Parisian luxury label created the bag in 1981 when their late chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas sat next to Jane on a flight from Paris to London and - after noticing her flimsy straw carry-on - created a leather weekend bag for the stunning brunette to travel with.
Her daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg, will also auction off her own signed edition of the Balenciaga City Bag for the charity which was set up in honour of Jane's nephew, the poet Anno Birkin, who perished in a car crash shortly before his 21st birthday.
The 67 year old fashion icon told The Telegraph newspaper: ''My handbag is being auctioned off to help a charity called Anno's Africa. That this epitome of 'chic Parisienne' should end up being useful in the Kenya slums...
''I'm very proud...By it's sale, to be able to bring art and dance, music and circus and a bit of fun and self worth to children who have nothing... to bring lightness and a future to hundreds of children in these slums, to permit artists to go there and work with these children... What better end for this Birkin bag than to help this cause, Anno's Africa in memory of that poet's name.''
The starting price for the handbag - which retails in store from around £4,800 up to £100,000 - has been set at £10,000, although it is expected to fetch well over £30,000.

Here's a link to the eBay listing:
JANE-BIRKIN'S Signed/Owned Black Leather Hermes Birkin-Bag

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hermes Goes Underground....Opens in Grand Central Station NYC about taking a brand to the masses. i guess Hermes figures if you can afford a subway token then you can afford a $45,000 handbag or $470 cotton boxer shorts.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

World's most exclusive handbag up for auction

Crocodile skin tote encrusted with 245 diamonds has price tag of £125,000

  • Bag is described as 'the rarest and most desirable handbag in the world'
  • Made from crocodile skin with white gold clasps and studded with diamonds
  • Goes under the hammer in Beverly Hills this month
  • May break record £125,000 paid for a red Birkin bag in 2011
  • Jane Birkin, after which the bags are named, says they're 'bloody heavy' 
  • Sharp elbows may be required when this handbag goes under the hammer - because it's the most desirable one in the world.
  • Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Victoria Beckham are all proud owners of iconic Hermès 'Birkin' bags, and the emergence of this unique version is sure to create a bidding war.
    The plush accessory is made from crocodile skin with white gold clasps and studded with diamonds, and experts say it could smash the £125,000 world record for a handbag paid in 2011.
    The bag, which only measures 30cm across, is set to be a record breaker, expected to reach over £125,000
    The bag, which only measures 30cm across, is set to be a record breaker, expected to reach over £125,000

    But ironically the only person who won't be interested in buying it is Jane Birkin herself - because she doesn't like them.
    The British actress after which the much sought-after foot-long bags are named famously denounced them as 'bloody heavy' - and said the one she owns hurts her arm.
    This bag - a 30cm Diamond, Matte Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin Bag - is encrusted with a whopping 245 diamonds and all the fittings are in 18-carat white gold.
    Experts say the bag, which is in pristine condition, is the most spectacular one ever made by the Parisian fashion house.
    Victoria Beckham is famously fond of the Hermes design, reportedly owning a collection worth over £1.2 million, while Kim Kardashian has so many that she uses one as a gym bag.
    It is estimated to fetch $200,000 - around £125,000 - when it goes under the hammer at Heritage Auctions.
    In 2011 Heritage sold a red Hermes Birkin for just under £125,000, setting a world record at the time.
    Kathleen Guzman, managing director at Heritage Auctions, which is selling the bag, said: 'A 30cm Diamond Himalayan Birkin is possibly the rarest and most desirable handbag in the world.
    'This bag is so rare and sought-after that there's a very good chance it could meet or exceed the world record price we saw three years ago.
    'This is the only time that a bag of this calibre has appeared on the luxury re-sale market. This is a dream piece for the collection of true Hermes aficionados.'
    The auction will take place on September 23 in Beverly Hills, California. 


Thursday, September 4, 2014

LVMH and Hermes call truce in 'handbag war'

PARIS (Reuters) - A long and bitter battle that has gripped the luxury goods industry and pitted two of France's richest families against each other came to an unexpected end on Wednesday when LVMH and Hermes agreed to a truce.
Under the deal, LVMH - the world's No.1 luxury group, controlled by France's wealthiest man Bernard Arnault - agreed to relinquish most of its 23.2 percent stake in Hermes and not acquire any shares in its smaller rival for five years.
It effectively buried the possibility LVMH could make a full takeover bid for the 177-year-old maker of Birkin and Kelly handbags. Such a prospect had boosted Hermes's stock, which has been trading at a price-to-earnings ratios of about 30 times in recent years, a 70 percent premium to the industry average.
Shares in Hermes fell nearly 10 percent to 236.5 euros in early trading on Wednesday, wiping out 2.8 billion euros ($3.7 billion) off its market value - equivalent to around 350,000 Birkin handbags based on an average price of 8,000 euros. By market close, they were down 3.5 percent.
"The speculative premium has disappeared," said Barclays France director Franklin Pichard.
The deal, under which LVMH agreed to redistribute its stake in Hermes to its shareholders, ends four years of legal warfare between the luxury titans, dubbed the "handbag war" by the press.
In 2010 LVMH - whose brands include fashion labels Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton, Hennessy cognac and Dom Perignon champagne - revealed it had built up a 17 percent stake in Hermes. It made the investment through a series of equity derivatives instead of straightforward share purchases, which prevented it from having to declaring them.
Hermes, one of France's last major independent luxury group still controlled by the founding family, vehemently protested at having its arch-rival as its biggest external shareholder.
According to French magazine Challenge, the Hermes family is Frances's fourth richest with a fortune estimated at nearly 19 billion euros, behind LVMH's Arnaults - estimated at 27 billion euros, L'Oreal's Bettencourts and Auchan's Mulliez. They come just ahead of Chanel's Wertheimer brothers.
Arnault had long set his sights on Hermes as it is considered one of the luxury brands that best resists downturns, with its products increasingly regarded as investments and benefiting from a thriving second-hand market.
While the sales growth of rival mega-brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton have ground to a halt in the past year, Hermes has continued to enjoy an annual revenue rise of more than 10 percent, consistently higher than the industry average.
The deal marks the first time Arnault - whose LVMH group has gobbled up more than 60 brands in the past two decades, including sizeable ones such as Roman jeweler Bulgari - abandons the pursuit of a prized target.
But the truce nevertheless offers a profitable solution for LVMH, which began building up its stake in Hermes in 2007 and 2008. It stands to make a theoretical gain on its holding of around 3 billion euros, analysts estimated.
"This clears up the situation and it is one of the few divorces in which both the partners are winners," said Mario Ortelli, luxury goods analyst at Bernstein.
Groupe Arnault, the family holding company of LVMH, will own 8.5 percent of Hermes after the share distribution.
Arnault is a proven master at exploiting family tensions when trying to buy a company. When the dispute started in 2010, industry observers thought the billionaire would seek to apply the same technique to Hermes' more than 100 family shareholders, divided between the Puech, Dumas and Guerrands.
A year later, most key family members except Nicolas Puech, who owned just under 6 percent of Hermes' shareholder capital, agreed to join a holding that controlled the company and bound them for two decades, making a takeover virtually impossible.
"LVMH has found an elegant way out of what was a deadlock," JP Morgan Cazenove said of the peace deal.
LVMH shares, flat since Jan. 1, rose about 3 percent on Wednesday. LVMH stock has underperformed the luxury goods industry in the past year over concerns about declining cognac sales in China and slower sales growth at its main profit generator Louis Vuitton.
The French stock market regulator fined LVMH last year for failing to properly disclose the stakebuilding and Hermes launched legal action against LVMH on allegations of insider trading and stock price manipulation.
LVMH fought back with proceedings against Hermes for libel.
The agreement signed on Tuesday night ended all legal proceedings between the two companies, they said in a joint statement issued on Wednesday.
For 21 LVMH shares, shareholders will receive 1 Hermes share, sources close to LVMH said. The distribution of Hermes shares will be completed no later than Dec. 20.

Handbag Dispute Leads To State Court Suit

The Hermes Birkin, a popular handbag among celebrities and Hampton socialites alike, is only occasionally offered by Hermes, and can retail for anywhere from nearly $10,000 to as high as $150,000—essentially an unattainable purchase for the common man, and thus a symbol of luxury and status for those that can afford it. The Kardashian sisters, famous for their curves and airing their dirty laundry via reality television show on the E! Network, are no exception to the celebrity Birkin bag following.

The Birkin bag made metropolitan area headlines earlier this month in a different context: Dr. Tara Allmen, a Manhattan-basted doctor, is suing Tisha Collette, founder of Collette Consignment, a local vintage store with shops in Sag Harbor, Southampton and Manhattan, accusing her of selling a fake Birkin handbag.

This month, the case, which was filed as a civil suit in January 2013, is now at the State Supreme Court, because the plaintiff is seeking punitive damages upward of $50,000, according to Dr. Allmen’s lawyer, Joseph Vitulli, himself a part-time Quogue resident.

Dr. Allmen said his client claims that eight years ago, in 2005, Ms. Collette sold her a fake Hermes Jean Paul Gaultier Birkin handbag, with a price tag of $3,500 in the shop. According to the plaintiff’s attorney, Ms. Collette claimed that the Hermes Birkin was authentic at the time of the sale.

Ms. Collette maintains, however, that she never even sold the bag in question to Dr. Allmen.

In a phone interview earlier this month, Dr. Allmen explained that she pressed charges only recently because she was unaware that the bag was a fake until a cleaning company would not clean the bag because it was not a bona fide Hermes Birkin. Dr. Allmen maintains that it was Ms. Collette who sold her the fake, and that the bag had been owned by Ms. Collette herself before she sold it to Dr. Allmen.

However, Ms. Collette adamantly says that Dr. Allmen was wrong about the entire situation.

“I don’t own a Birkin and have never owned one,” she said in a phone interview. “I am in the business of selling them.”

Ms. Collette insisted that Dr. Allmen never purchased the orange bag in question from one of Ms. Collette’s consignment stores. “Tara Allmen never bought that bag from me and has no proof that she bought that bag from me ... nor has she even come into the store with the bag to inspect,” the store owner said.

The he said-she said continues: Mr. Vitulli stated that he and his client, Dr. Allmen, had previously “tried to resolve this with the retailer, but they were being very foolish,” he said, referring to Tisha Collette. He added, “She’s doing bad things.”

The two parties do seem to agree upon this: Ms. Collette said that she did offer to have Dr. Allmen come into the store so that the store owner could inspect the bag and work out a resolution. “She used to be a very good customer of mine,” Ms. Collette said of Dr. Allmen.

Ms. Collette insisted that she wanted to help Dr. Allmen in any way that she could. However, it did not pan out that way: Instead of seeing Dr. Allmen with the bag in question, Ms. Collette was served with court papers and a lawsuit.

In the interim, several others have come to Dr. Allmen’s defense—or, rather, lined up to criticize Ms. Collette—although she is the only one to actually take her complaint to court. Tracy Tooker, owner of an eponymous hat shop on Hill Street, claims she is owed more than $1,000 after Ms. Collette sold four of her hats and turned over only $150 to Ms. Tooker. A friend of Ms. Tooker’s, Victoria Henderson, was similarly critical of Ms. Collette, though she offered no specific examples to support her remarks.

Ms. Collette said that after the stock market crashed, copies of designer items—not just Birkins, but other high-end accessories—began popping up everywhere. Essentially, people didn’t want their Kardashian-like lifestyles and seemingly wealthy reputations to suffer, even if their pocketbooks were literally in the dump. So they turned to the symbols of prosperity—fake Birkin bags and all.

“Clothes and shoes were even turning up as copies, but bags are the number-one copy,” said Ms. Collette.

Her point? Dr. Allmen may have received the Birkin as a gift or perhaps purchased it somewhere else, the store owner says, but she did not purchase a fake bag from Collette Consignment.

Ms. Collette said Dr. Allmen should have been tipped off about the bag, wherever she bought it, when she paid only $3,500. Even in 2005, for a previously owned, authentic Hermes Birkin, the price tag should have been much more than $3,500, according to Ms. Collette. “I have six in my store right now, and the cheapest is $16,000,” she said.

Ms. Collette expressed sympathy for Dr. Allmen, saying, “She used to be a very good customer of mine.” Dr. Allmen had bought handbags, clothes and more from Ms. Collette in the past, the latter said.

The store owner said Dr. Allmen has failed to produce the actual bag or produce a receipt for the purchase of an Hermes Birkin. She acknowledged that Dr. Allmen did have a receipt for purchasing an orange bag from her, but said it does not specify that it was an Hermes Birkin that was sold. However, in an email this week, Dr. Allmen stated she does have a receipt from Collette Consignment that specifically states the purchase of an Orange Birkin with the store owner’s initials, next to the description. Dr. Allmen failed to produce the receipt, however, at the discretion of her lawyer. “My lawyer forbids photographing it, as it is a critical part of my case showing that Tisha herself committed the fraud,” she said.

Still, the store owner shows concern for her former customer, Dr. Allmen. “I feel terrible that she has been duped somehow, somewhere ... I’m not sure ... it’s a little bit weird,” Ms. Collette said. She also called it “all a little strange that it’s happening all these years later.”

The Birkin made a name for itself long before the Kardashian sisters could even spell Hermes. At the height of its popularity, circa 2004, “Sex in the City” devoted an entire episode to the cultural phenomenon that was, and still is, the Hermes Birkin. A salesman put it perfectly when he once told Samantha “It’s not a bag ... it’s a Birkin.” And at that, Samantha had to have it. The problem? The waiting list was longer than the larger-than-life price tag itself.

Samantha learned what every other woman in New York knows: A Birkin sets you apart from other people, because a Birkin is not just any bag. Materialistic socialites, Samantha included, know that a Birkin is not just an expensive accessory, but a status symbol as well.

Who wouldn’t want a Birkin? They are more than bags—they are statements of material wealth. In 2011, it was reported by InStyle that Kourtney, Kim and Khloe together owned 13 Birkins; and the numbers only went up from there. Kim Kardashian, arguably the most famous of the Kardashian trio, received a larger-than-life, custom-painted Hermes Birkin courtesy of her then-fiancé Kanye West this past Christmas.

Ms. Collette has owned Collette Consignment for 14 years, and she maintains that you don’t get the reputation she has by selling fake purses and tricking customers into thinking they are authentic. “Every single one of the bags in every single one of my stores are authenticated,” she assured. “I can spot a fake really easily. If any one of them needs authentication, we outsource to an authenticator ... especially for high-end items.”

There are a few key things to look for when purchasing an Hermes Birkin, Ms. Collette said. Most important, underneath the strap there is a stamp that says “Hermes.” The inside of the zipper also contains the same label. Each and every authentic Birkin bag on the market is handmade. When buying anything designer, craftsmanship and quality are two qualities to look for in differentiating genuine from counterfeit items, and an Hermes Birkin is no exception, Ms. Collette said. Before she finalizes any deal regarding an Hermes Birkin, Ms. Collette said, she looks for these marks of authenticity.

Regarding the pending lawsuit, Ms. Collette said that she and her attorney have filed a motion to dismiss Ms. Allmen’s complaint and are waiting to hear back. “I’m just letting the lawyers handle it at this point. I have nothing negative to say about her at all ... just letting the courts handle it,” she said.

Dr. Allmen, on the other hand, said she was “appalled to have Tisha Collette be so despicable in her business dealings. One must do the right thing and make Tisha Collette responsible,” she said.

“I’m not in any way concerned. The judge already threw the case out once,” Ms. Collette maintained. The store owner had a piece of advice for fellow consignment shop owners: “Be careful. What’s to protect the consignment store owners?” she said.


NBC-TV/Today Show
Summer Reading Round-Up

Bringing Home the Birkin
top 10 summer reads!




May 18, 2008
Bag Man