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From the Birkin to the Alexa: celebrity muses who have inspired designer bags

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When Jane Birkin took her seat next to Hermes chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas on a flight from Paris to London in 1981, it was a journey which would change fashion history. As the British actress and singer placed her straw bag in the overhead compartment, the contents fell to the floor, prompting her to exclaim how difficult it was to find a leather weekend bag she liked. Jean-Louis had a 'eureka' moment, and the celebrity-inspired bag was born.

Jane Birkin


The highly covetable 'Birkin' bag is now iconic, with a waiting list of up to six years – the longest wait for any bag in history. Another of Hermes' hits is the 'Kelly', which was a already a favourite of Princess Grace of Monaco before it was named. The stunning actress-turned-royal famously used the large bag to hide her blossoming baby bump from the paparazzi, which in turn sent the accessory's popularity soaring. After recognising the fashion house's enormous success, a slew of other designers followed suit and created arm candy with equally chic muses.

Lancel created the 'Brigitte Bardot' bag, with its soft materials serving to remind of her smooth curves. And Mulberry have two current muses. Alexa Chung totes her 'Alexa' bag with pride, while Lana Del Rey is the most recent high-profile figure to be bestowed the honour of an accessory named after her.

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