Your handbag has a name. It’s not something new; it’s been going on for a long while. The most famous are the Kelly and Birkin. The Kelly as first designed in the 1930’s and then was favoured by Grace Kelly and has become associated with her. The Birkin was created by Hermès for English actress, Jane Birkin in 1984 after she was seen struggling on to a plane with a haphazard collection of old bags. It’s not just a marketing strategy, which allows you to be a part, by association, of a very exclusive and wealthy club; it’s a centuries old method of stock control and identification.
Look at your shoe boxes, as shoes particularly have names. I suppose it is because when all those boxes get stacked up out the back is easier to find and identify them by name than by number. It is so much easier for everyone to remember the product called Jane than the product called TJF45102007. Jeans, on the other hand, have numbers, and cars have both.
Now there is a new bag vying for legendary status. Created by Hermès, it is called the Steve, and it is different from its predecessors. This time it is for men! Named for the iconic actor Steve McQueen, it is a sleek, practical carryall that defies gender and time. A handsome, handmade piece of craftsmanship and a snip at $11,135.
My dirt-bike riding best friend was suitably alarmed when he heard that a handbag would be named for his hero. ‘Steve McQueen never carried a handbag’ was the predictable remark for an unreconstructed twentieth century male. Times have changed, and thankfully so have men. My fashion designer buddy purred like a lion and gave the bag his full, critical attention and mentally took out a bank loan.
It’s a beautiful bag, more over-nighter or computer bag and not entirely gender specific. It’s completely up to date. This is not the right bag for The Importance of Being Ernest, when Lady Bracknell exclaims the legendary lines, ‘A Handbag?’ as poor Ernest reveals that he was found in one at Victoria Station. This is a very modern bag, and it suits the needs of both men and women. Sleek and understated with all the pockets in the right places for the things we carry today. Vintage bags are great, but they never have anywhere to put your phone or your iPad. As with all the Hermès bags, it can be customised to fit the client; the design remains sacred, but you get to choose the colours and materials. The interior can be customised to suit your needs, which means mine will have a pocket with a toggle to hold my headphones. And although I am unlikely to own one in this lifetime, it doesn’t stop me lying awake at night ordering my own perfect version.