On her way to a show date in New York, Birkin spoke with WWD about the responsibility she feels toward her late partner’s material (‘If I muck them up, I am mucking them up for him,’ she said of his songs), and how she puts that Hermès bag to work in aid of charitable causes:
‘I got Hermès to fork out for my charities once I saw the fortune they were making,’ she told the paper. ‘A certain amount of money every year goes straight to my charity and it will continue to after my death. This year I was able to [use some of that money] to go to Japan for a benefit concert after the earthquake. We use some of the money to feed the poor people who can’t afford to eat in France. I sold one of my Birkin bags for $163,000 to help the Japanese Red Cross.’
As well as supporting tsunami relief efforts in Japan, Birkin’s charity promotes Burmese human rights and democracy. Closer to home, she has fundraised for undocumented immigrants in France and donated to causes aiding Chechen civilian victims of war.
‘So that rather trivial piece of heavy luggage has done a lot of good in the world,’ Birkin summarised.
An ancestor of Birkin's rather trivial piece of heavy luggage sold for $203,150 at an auction in Dallas, Texas earlier this week. The Hermès Exceptional Collection Shiny Rouge H Porosus Crocodile 30 cm Birkin Bag with Solid 18K White Gold & Diamond Hardware is made of red crocodile skin with diamond-covered white-gold hardware. Jane, perhaps you'd care to conduct your next charity auction in Texas?