‘Oh, honey! It’s not so much the style, it’s what carrying it means’: Hermès bags and the transformative process | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2050-0726
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0734



This article investigates the characteristics that define the suitability of certain characters in a number of film and television programmes to be consumers of Hermès prestige handbags. First, it examines the status of a Birkin or Kelly bag and how it is perceived to have transformative powers within the narrative, its impact upon its carrier’s own sense of identity and how it is read by others. Apart from signalling itself as an index of luxury, the bag may also trigger connotations of a suspicious sexual nature if carried by characters that do not have the means to purchase it, and by virtue of its inherent ability to conceal. Characters require a sophisticated knowledge and class in order to bear successfully the kind of distinction that Hermès represents. Second, it addresses the viewers of these programmes as highly informed and discerning consumers of images of Hermès bags. The ability to identify specific sizes, leathers and speculate upon the authenticity of the bag is remarkable, and can be considered as a particular kind of specialized and exclusive knowledge. These readings invite us to consider this accessory as something that exceeds its function as mere costuming or prop within the mise-en-scène, as the bag seems to have agency and at times overshadows the centrality of characters.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Birkin; consumer; Hermès; Kelly; prestige; suitability
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