The Hunt For Orange

It’s Friday here, the markets are still in free fall around the world, Mother Nature won’t let up with the natural disasters (did you hear about that freak storm at the concert in Hasselt, Belgium right after the one in Indiana?), and I just finally watched the documentary Waiting For Superman, so things are bleary.

I woke up this morning asking myself where do average Janes like me find inspiration to regain a bit of lightness in our steps as we trudge through another tough week of more bad news? I suppose some of us recharge our emotional fuel tanks by watching our (fur)kids sleep …

or find a bit of escape by sitting through reality shows. Or, especially in my case, reminisce about one Sunday afternoon in Paris. Let me take you back to that one Spring day, when the streets were emptied of people who were now either at mass or spending time indoors with their families…which was great for me to take in all the windows without people crowding my view:

But the view I was most looking forward to was behind these doors:

The hunt for orange, as in that famous orange box that Hermes goodies come in, began for me over a decade ago. I’ve dabbled in those H scarves and shoes and have coveted an English saddle for a very long time. And I don’t even have a horse, at least not one that isn’t imaginary anyway. I thought about getting one customized and then just displaying it in my office. Saddle, not horse. But let’s not go there. Let’s go back to the real story.

Everyone who loves handbags, for better or for worse, knows that sooner or later the trail stops at the doors of Hermes. Considered a holy grail for many fashionistas, the Hermes Birkin or Kelly is “the one” to have. Even in the aftermarket, the price can be prohibitive. The fact that the Birkin is so difficult to get even at full retail price drives some worshipers to brinks of insanity, enduring games of politics with the sales associates in order to score a bag. As a consumer, I prefer to be in the driver’s seat and not have to work so hard for the honor of buying a bag, which probably explains why I’ve yet to own a Birkin. Or maybe it’s something else.

The bag is too heavy. The bag is too mumsy looking. The bag is a pain to open and shut. So the naysayers tell me. I do agree a little. Yes, it’s heavy even when empty, and yes I’d probably leave it opened while carrying it so I wouldn’t have to fuss with it. And yes, it does look rather conservative. And worst of all, it’s never available in any of the H boutiques that I’ve visited to even try on for size. So for over ten years I would think about the Birkin and come home with something else.

But a couple of years ago, I spotted a woman in rainy Venice carrying a gray ostrich Birkin that matched the color of the clouds. I still can’t get this visual out of my head. She stood across from me on the water bus and I missed my stop because I was too busy staring at her bag. Fast forward to this Sunday in Paris, and…

Be still my heart.

This blog is about happy endings, usually, but not today. I called the boutique the next day but the bag was not for sale. They were kind enough to give me all the information about the bag, but just not the bag. So the hunt goes on.

Sometimes I believe I want to not find it just yet, so that I have something to motivate me to work even harder. And maybe I’m more about the chase than the actual kill, which is often anticlimactic in my book. So you see, the hunt is what puts lightness in my steps and inspires me to get through a week of bad news. How about you?


  1. larkie

    Hi Thao, your comment made my day! I’ll email you directly 😀

  2. Thao

    Hi Larkie @ Large,

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now and would like to stop by and thank you for being a part of a very special time in my life.

    Last year after having miscarried 3 times, my husband and I finally got what we waited three years for; getting pregnant with our third and last child. We were delighted beyond words. Even more so when we found out that the baby was a girl (after having two beautiful boys)! What we didn’t realize was that it ended up being the worst pregnancy I ever had (hyperemesis) and I almost died. Your blog helped distract me from the pain and hunger that struck me all day long for 20 straight weeks.

    So I wanted to stop by and thank you for such an enjoyable blog and a wonderful escape for me during that time.

    Fast forward to now, our family is complete with two beautiful boys and a gorgeous, dream of a baby daughter–who just turned 3 1/2 months old, might I add 🙂 .

    That is one reason I wanted to leave you a comment and another reason is that during mid-2009 after the worst of the three miscarriages I had prior to getting pregnant with my daughter, I fell into a deep depression. Nothing helped and I felt absolutely smothered by the emotional abyss that I was in. Surprisingly the only thing that helped perk me up was a random trip to Hermes (my first time). Within a week, my husband had secretly ordered me a Black Kelly with Goldhardware and surprised me with it.

    That started a ridiculous and uncontrollable slide down the slippery orange slope. I was lucky (or rather my bank account was unlucky, hehe) to discover Hermes during 2009 when they seemed to stock their shelves with Kelly’s and Birkin’s all the time.

    In just a 3 months, we saw so many K’s and B’s as walk-ins on the shelves. From what I hear and have seen, it is no longer like this. Needless to say, I’ve amassed a respectable (to a middle-class US citizen) Hermes collection that includes more cashmere shawls and silk scarves than I’d like to admit, lots of over-priced but insanely beautiful jewelry (exotic collier de chien bracelets, the all-silver cdc bracelet, silver keychains, etc), and a handful of handbags so beautiful, they are like wearable art!

    It’s funny how it all started as a replacement for the children I miscarried and now that I am fortunate enough to give birth to a healthy baby girl, I don’t have the time to carry them! I’ve used my black kelly three times, my rouge birkin twice, my pink evelyne three times, and my orange paris bombay 5 times.

    Your post reminds me of how beautiful my treasures are but it especially reminds me of my most-prized one; my gray ostrich 30 birkin–of which I’ve never worn as I am too chicken to dare bring it out of the house! I’ve taken it out of the dust bag to look at it, then quickly put it back in.

    I’ve never even considered parting with any of my collection but seeing as how I can’t even use my Hermes handbags due to caring for 3 active children, I don’t foresee even using them for the next 3-4 years at least until my baby girl is old enough not to dirty them or my boys accidentally destroying them!

    So after reading this post of yours, it has started me thinking that there are people out there who might be interested in my collection and if any of my purses that I don’t use can help make them as happy as they have made me (just by owning them), then I should perhaps think of passing them along to those who have been unlucky in getting their Hermes dreams fulfilled.

    So thanks L@L for inspiring me to step forward and start researching how and who would benefit from taking over ownership of my “Orange Babies”!

    You’ve done it again and affected my life in a lovely, positive way 🙂 . For that I thank you.

    Best Wishes,

    P.S. I have no clue where to begin as I am hopelessly clueless about ebay and such so after I stop by a Barnes and Nobles bookstore and buy an “Ebay for Dummies” book or something like that, I’ll update you and let you know how my adventures in selling my collection and passing them onto other die-hard Hermes lovers goes. Maybe I’ll be able to find a reputable reseller to consign them to! Wish me luck!

  3. Karen

    Sorry I am so late to read this. I just wanted to say to Dina not to take her experience at H too seriously. They are horrible to most people, read the Purseforum ! Many people go every day and come home without a birkin. If anything you should be proud that you outwitted whatever system they operate and got your longed for bag. Enjoy the bag and you are sticking two fingers up at them IMO. If you really can’t get past your experience then sell it and use the money to make yourself happy. Hugs, Karen

  4. larkie

    Oh Dina! your story just broke my heart and really left a sour taste in my mouth. i totally empathize with every emotion you went through with that Birkin. when i was a lot younger i would be very bothered by that kind of attitude (and injustice) from judgmental people. now with the confidence that’s come with age, i just don’t put up with it. my money only goes where it’s welcomed! i’m sorry your Birkin experience was not fabulous in the way that you deserved it to be. i wish for you that once all the bitterness falls away, you will look at that bag again and use it and enjoy it…and let it be a reminder of all the hard work you put into saving for it instead of some of the ugliness from a few narrow-minded people. that’s what i’ll take from your story, that hard work can materialize into a fab bag!

  5. Dina

    My hunt from the orange family, didnt start well and it is my first and last time.
    I saved and travel to Paris this spring. Oh my, I went early morning each day and still its already plenty of people,mostly from asia.
    Everyone asking for a “Birkin or a Kelly” But they keep saying to everyone , “No, Birkin or Kelly” today.
    So of course it made me abit disappointed and sad. I came to the store everyday for 2 weeks, so they know my face..
    2 days before I had to leave from Paris and home, I met a friend of mine and her family, her father woks as a businessman from sweden. I went along with them and he said he want to buy a Hermes scarf to his sister.
    So I asked him a favor , to ask them, about do they have a “Birkin” today. I sat with my friend at a coffee shop. Suddenly my friend phone rang, and guess what. They had 1 today. So I ran over, but I notice they looked at me.
    I felt like they scanned me over and judge me by my cover, like a poor asian that saved a long time to buy a bag, That I m not qualified to wear that bag. But I were to happy to think over it, I bought it. But now I REALLY REGRET THAT.
    I used it twice, and now I just looked at it and feeling stupid and how crazy I m to really want this bag and forgot my pride. I belive the sales personale there really judge over people whos got to wear theirs bag.I went there every day but they always said, they didnt have any stock. My swedish friend father came for the first time and just asked for it. He got it, on the same day.
    If If were not for my friends father I will never got a bag. Cause I was NOT good enough to own a bag from the Orange family.
    Thats my story.

  6. larkie

    gals, i think that’s part of the fun of the hunt. i’m excited to know some day the right birkin and i will find each other. i’ve considered resellers but as i don’t know enough about H bags, i’m always worried about authenticity issues. their prices are also so high that i’d rather have the whole “store experience” for the same kind of $!

    ah well, my love affair with chanel goes on…

  7. larkie

    Jel: the massai is a pretty slick looking bag, very understated and cool. i’m sad they’re only doing the “cut” version now though.

  8. Katherine

    That photo has two of my life’s dream bags – the croc kelly is also so freaking gorgeous! Let me know next time you are in paris – inventory is so so low though…have you ever considered reseller route? They will probably raise prices early next year..

  9. Jelita78

    P/s: April > u rock!! Totally make sense!!

  10. Jelita78

    I think your massai is the most practical of all from the “orange” family already. It slouches like a hobo and u can do shoulder carry and crossbody too!
    U really opened my eyes towards hermes by it, as b4 this i tot hermes is just about birkin!
    I’m starting to love the look of lindy style for it can handheld via shorter handle and shoulder carry..
    if i must say so, i am a sucker for more than single styled bags..
    But of course, that means i must get me a jumbo flap first!!

  11. Latkesanddimsum

    Dear Larkie,
    I really enjoy reading your blog!

    Sometimes – you might find your perfect Hermes bag when you least expect it. I hope you’ll encounter something that will be wonderful! 🙂

  12. larkie

    april: amen to all that you said. i *think* i want a birkin because it seems so elusive but because of the elitism behind their marketing i don’t really want to give them my moolah. but apparently they don’t miss my money :D.

  13. larkie

    D: i know, an ostrich and a gator, both grey, next to each other. i can die happy now. lol.

  14. April

    Didn’t you ever read the book Bringing Home the Berkin? That book totally describes how to get an actual Berkin; you have to buy a lot of other stuff that you don’t especially want, and then casually ask “Any Berkins?” It’s all just a big scam that they are in short supply. There is no such thing as witnessed by all the celebs who walk around with them like some cheap tote all opened up without even the prestige of the bag whatsoever! It’s a sacrilege to see what they do to those bags, but do it they do. Turns me off on the whole stupid Hermes facade, therefore, I would never buy one. It’s a good fabrication for marketing purposes only: here, want it, can’t have it, that’s their motto. Stupid and transparent. Better to invest with other more worthy brands if there really are any in this economic climate, kwim?!

  15. d

    I think the ostrich and the gator are going to haunt me now as well! Two visions of beauty! Now, that is ART!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *