Hey, Hermès, Jane Birkin Wants Her Name Back

Photo: Niko/Le Floch/SIPA.
Jane Birkin, she of the O.G. "It bag," wants Hermès to stop using her name on her eponymous, iconic bag — specifically, its crocodile-skin iterations. The reason? The ultra-luxurious French house’s inhumane methods of slaughtering the reptiles, according to French news agency AFP, as reported by Yahoo! News.

"Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermès handbags carrying my name...I have asked Hermès to de-baptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place," Birkin said in a statement to AFP.

PETA released undercover footage of the cramped living conditions and unnecessarily brutal killing tactics (like stabbing the still-conscious alligators' backs with knives and shooting them in the heads with captive-bolt guns) used by a purportedly Hermès-owned Texas tannery. The investigation also covered a Zimbabwe crocodile "prison" that exports hides to Hermès.

The label released a statement to People about the incident, but as for the gristly footage of the Texas alligator farm, it might not actually be connected to the luxury house: “'Hermès respects and shares [Birkin's] emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.... An investigation is underway at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video.... Hermès specifies that this farm does not belong to them and that the crocodile skins supplied are not used for the fabrication of Birkin bags.”

The perennially wait-listed Birkin bag came to be after the British singer and style icon met the then-president of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas, in 1984 and lamented the lack of chic yet actually useful bags on the market. Crocodile-clad versions of the status symbol start in the mid-$30K range, and can climb far north of that. In June, a bubblegum-pink crocodile Birkin with diamond-encrusted gold hardware fetched $223,000 in a Christie's auction in Hong Kong, following an "almost albino" croc Birkin with diamond trim that scored $185,000 in an auction. If you needed a reason to feel pretty okay about not being on a waiting list for a Birkin, this is probably it.

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