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31 Jul

More Than Just Jane: The Women Who’ve Inspired Iconic Handbags

Today, the Internet spilleth over with stories about Jane Birkin’s request that Hermès stop using her name on crocodile Birkin bags. In the flurry of articles, actual specifics of Birkin’s plea may have been missed: Birkin was presented a video by PETA that showed unethical practices being used on a crocodile farm in Texas, to which she asked the house to suspend using her name on croc Birkins until the issue was resolved. For its part, Hermès responded swiftly, noting, “Hermès specifies that this farm does not belong to them and that the crocodile skins supplied are not for the fabrication of Birkin bags,” and that an investigation of the farm in question is under way.

Perhaps the more interesting issue at hand is that even if Birkin were to request her name removed from the Hermès line that bears it, she’d have no luck:The New York Times reports that the name was trademarked in 1997 by Hermès, giving the house the ability to use it as it pleases. Other women who have loaned their names to handbags—everyone from Jackie Kennedy Onassis to Cara Delevingne, among them—have learned the lesson to only endorse a purse on a less-obvious first-name basis. In the slideshow, find Birkin and 12 others who have inspired everything from carryalls to clutches.


written by Steff Yotka

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Jina Jeon
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