The Birkin before the Birkin: A look back at Jane's original statement purse

The Birkin Bag is one of the most recognizable pieces by French fashion house, Hermès. However, British actress and singer Jane Birkin was making statements of her own with a very different purse before the namesake bag was created: her very own...basket. Woven from wicker and casually slung across her arm, Jane Birkin was photographed prolifically throughout the 70's -- whether it be for afternoons by the beach or black tie dinners for Cannes Film Festival -- toting the effortlessly chic basket bag.
But a chance encounter with Jean-Louis Dumas of Hermès would create a product that not only changed what classified as Jane's signature purse, but also, the way the fashion world would perceive the name Birkin itself: The Birkin Bag. Several notable namesake bags have made statements throughout the industry, such as the Lady Dior bag after Lady Diana, and the Alexa by Mulberry after Alexa Chung. Few however, are as iconic, or widely celebrated as the Hermès Birkin Bag.
This week, the bag made headlines when Birkin announced that she wanted the Parisian label to remove her name from the Birkin Croco. Citing a video by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as the reason behind her decision, Birkin requested that her name be removed until "better practices in line with international norms can be put in place." While we wait for the issue to pan out, we'll look back at the original (and animal friendly), Birkin Basket.