The Birkin bag has become a symbol of celebrity culture and the trappings of fame and success. An entire episode of was dedicated to Samantha’s attempt to skip the wait list to get her hands on one by claiming the handbag was for Lucy Liu, and Kris Jenner has a dedicated wardrobe for her collection—complete with a neon sign that reads, “Need Money for Birkin.” But before the Kardashian family started investing in the Hermès status symbols in bulk, Victoria Beckham was one of the first celebrities to put the bag squarely in the frame for the paparazzi.
If you look back at any pictures of VB from the aughts, whether she’s in transit in airport terminals or pouting in football terraces, chances are she has an Hermès Birkin hooked over her elbow. She was first seen with this bag in 2004, when she invested in a tan version. Just five years later The Guardian estimated that Beckham owned as many as 100.
They were the foundation of her WAG wardrobe, and she had an array of colorways to ensure her bag always blended perfectly with her look. At the World Cup in 2006, for example, she selected a white version to complete her patriotic outfit, wearing it with a red England tank top and white micro shorts; in 2007 she wore a bright pink Birkin to match her Roland Mouret Galaxy dress to an LA Galaxy event.
She might have left the bleached blonde “pob” (Posh Spice bob) and her Moving to America catchphrase “major” behind her, but this week she proved it’s not the end of the Beckham Birkin era.
These days Victoria Beckham almost exclusively wears pieces by her own brand, as she knows just how effective photographs of her can be at moving product. But she’s on her summer holidays and so has taken a break from promoting the Victoria Beckham Chain pouch, which is normally surgically attached to her hand. For lunch at Lo Scoglio restaurant on the coast in Nerano, Italy, last week, Beckham wore a mini tan leather Hermès bag with a sweeping beige shirtdress and a raffia boater.
The next day the Beckham family was photographed back in the United States watching Inter Miami play Nashville SC. Rather than a football shirt and scarf, Victoria Beckham cheered on the players in white wide-leg tailored trousers and another Birkin bag from her collection—this time an oversized bag in a rich tan leather with a printed silk scarf looped around the handle.
The handbag was named after the style muse Jane Birkin, who died earlier this summer at the age of 76. The story goes that she was sitting next to Jean-Louis Dumas of Hermès on a flight and asked him, “Why don’t you make a handbag that is bigger than the Kelly but smaller than Serge’s suitcase?” [Birkin’s lover was the French actor, director, and musician Serge Gainsbourg.] She then drew him a sketch of her idea on the plane’s sick bag, and the Parisian house ultimately named the bag for her. As the world has been remembering Jane Birkin’s fashion legacy, perhaps it has inspired Mrs. Beckham to return to this classic.
This post was originally published on Vogue UK.