Birkin vs. Kelly

What's the Difference?

The Birkin and Kelly bags are two iconic designs by the luxury brand Hermès. While both bags are highly coveted and exude elegance, they have distinct differences. The Birkin, named after actress Jane Birkin, features a more relaxed and casual silhouette with its slouchy shape and double handles. On the other hand, the Kelly, named after actress Grace Kelly, has a more structured and formal appearance with its trapezoid shape and single top handle. Additionally, the Birkin has a more spacious interior, making it ideal for everyday use, while the Kelly is known for its timeless and sophisticated appeal, often seen as a more formal option. Ultimately, both bags are symbols of luxury and craftsmanship, but their unique designs cater to different styles and occasions.


Named AfterJane BirkinGrace Kelly
Year Introduced19841935
Size Options25cm, 30cm, 35cm, 40cm25cm, 28cm, 32cm, 35cm, 40cm
HandlesDouble rolled handlesSingle top handle
Shoulder StrapDetachableDetachable
Material OptionsLeather, Exotic skinsLeather, Exotic skins
Interior Pockets1 or 21 or 2

Further Detail


When it comes to luxury handbags, few names hold as much prestige as Hermès. The French fashion house is renowned for its impeccable craftsmanship and timeless designs. Among their extensive collection, the Birkin and Kelly bags stand out as true icons. Both bags exude elegance and sophistication, but they also have distinct characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we will delve into the attributes of the Birkin and Kelly bags, exploring their history, design, functionality, and popularity.


The Birkin bag, named after the English actress and singer Jane Birkin, was born out of a chance encounter between Birkin and Jean-Louis Dumas, the former CEO of Hermès, on a flight in 1981. Birkin expressed her dissatisfaction with the lack of practical yet stylish bags, leading Dumas to create a design that would meet her needs. This collaboration resulted in the birth of the Birkin bag, which quickly gained popularity and became a symbol of luxury.

On the other hand, the Kelly bag has a longer history, dating back to the 1930s. Originally known as the "Sac à dépêches," it was later renamed after the actress and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly. The bag gained international recognition when Kelly used it to shield her pregnancy from the paparazzi. This iconic moment solidified the bag's status as a fashion staple and propelled it into the spotlight.


Both the Birkin and Kelly bags share some design similarities, such as their structured shape and signature lock closure. However, there are notable differences that make each bag unique.

The Birkin bag features two handles, allowing it to be carried by hand or on the arm. It also has a larger and more relaxed silhouette compared to the Kelly. The Birkin's key design element is its belted closure, which can be secured with a lock and key. This closure adds a touch of elegance and ensures the bag remains securely fastened.

On the other hand, the Kelly bag has a more compact and structured shape. It features a single top handle and a detachable shoulder strap, providing versatility in carrying options. The Kelly's distinctive design element is its iconic turn-lock closure, which is elegantly integrated into the bag's front flap. This closure adds a sense of sophistication and refinement to the overall aesthetic.


When it comes to functionality, both the Birkin and Kelly bags are designed to meet the needs of modern women.

The Birkin bag's spacious interior allows for ample storage, making it ideal for everyday use or travel. It often features a removable pouch and multiple pockets, providing organizational options for belongings. The bag's sturdy construction and durable materials ensure it can withstand the test of time, making it a reliable companion for any occasion.

Similarly, the Kelly bag offers practicality without compromising on style. Its interior is thoughtfully designed with compartments and pockets, allowing for efficient organization. The bag's structured shape helps maintain its elegant appearance, even when filled to capacity. Whether used for work or special events, the Kelly bag effortlessly combines functionality and sophistication.


Both the Birkin and Kelly bags have achieved iconic status and are highly sought after by fashion enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.

The Birkin bag's exclusivity and limited availability have contributed to its allure. It is often considered a symbol of wealth and status, with waiting lists that can span years. Celebrities and influencers frequently showcase their Birkin bags, further fueling its popularity and desirability.

Similarly, the Kelly bag's timeless appeal has made it a favorite among fashion connoisseurs. Its classic design and association with Grace Kelly have cemented its place in fashion history. The bag's scarcity and the meticulous craftsmanship involved in its production make it a coveted item for those seeking a touch of luxury.


In conclusion, the Birkin and Kelly bags are both iconic creations by Hermès, each with its own distinct attributes. The Birkin bag's larger size, belted closure, and versatility make it a practical choice for everyday use. On the other hand, the Kelly bag's structured shape, turn-lock closure, and timeless elegance make it a sophisticated option for various occasions. Both bags have captivated the hearts of fashion enthusiasts and continue to be highly sought after. Whether you prefer the Birkin or the Kelly, owning one of these exquisite handbags is a testament to impeccable taste and appreciation for timeless luxury.

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