An Hermès Birkin bag donated by the French actress and style icon Jane Birkin, OBE, has today smashed sale estimates by Christie’s, achieving the top price at the Stella x Smart Works charity auction.
The bag was sold for £35,000 to a private bidder, surpassing the estimate of £8,000 - £10,000. Birkin has offered to sign the bag after the close of the auction for the winning bidder, adding further value to the already-highly-collectible style which was originally named after her by Hermès in 1984.
The fashion auction, which ran from 21st August, was organised as a collaboration between The Telegraph’s Stella magazine and auction house Christie's, in aid of the British charity Smart Works. The total of the sale is £77,000, with 100% of the proceeds going to Smart Works.
Other star lots included a rare dress from the late designer Alexander McQueen’s final collection, donated by Dame Helena Morrissey, which fetched £6,875, Twiggy’s Tommy Nutter suit from the 1970s at £4,000, and author Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Hermès Kelly bag, which sold for £6,000.
“I didn’t know what to give to help these women, to be sure to raise a lot of money,” Birkin mused at the start of the auction. “Then I thought of the Hermès handbag I designed many years ago. It’s difficult to get because of the waiting list, and we know how much it costs… I’m hoping this helps Smart Works to raise some funds.”
Victoria Beckham, Samantha Cameron and Kate Moss were among the 33 women who donated items from their own wardrobes to the sale, all in aid of Smart Works. The charity supports vulnerable women seeking new jobs around the UK, via interview coaching and personal dressing sessions.
“If there’s such a thing as a lockdown highlight, the Stella x Smart Works Auction is it,’ said Caroline Barrett, editor of Stella Magazine. ‘Organised entirely over Zoom, we feel so grateful to all the donors, bidders and the team at Christie’s. The money raised will change the lives of so many vulnerable women.”
“The partnership between Stella, Smart Works and Christie’s is a testament to what can be achieved in the most difficult of circumstances,” added Kate Stephens, Smart Works CEO. “We have loved watching the donations come in and can’t thank the donors and bidders enough for their generosity and for sharing our passion to help women to be their best. As we continue to navigate new challenges, we know more women than ever before will need our help and the extraordinary amount raised will ensure we can continue to reach those who need it most.”