Bringing Home the Birkin and Kérastase Birkin Giveaway

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Pictured: L’Oreal Kerastase’s contest for a Birkin bag, mistakenly described as a Kelly bag

Recently, in perhaps one of their rare fashion faux pas, L’Oreal Kérastase contest running on mistakenly labeled a Hermes Birkin bag as a Hermes Kelly bag. The misnomer was of course discovered by my fellow blogger, and intrepid fashion finder and lover of luxury, 00o0. As 00o00, correctly surmised, it’s amazing that in an advertisement for a giveaway on a coveted Hermes bag, that the bag was mislabeled. Above and below are the screen shots.

How could Kérastase ( and Vogue by association) have avoided such a misstep? Well, they should have called the expert on the coveted Birkin bag (named for actress Jane Birkin), author Michael Tonello. Michael is the author of a wonderful, and very humorous book, about his own quest for finding Birkins to sell on eBay. The book is called Bringing Home the Birkin.” Recently, I sat down for some virtual tea and a chat with Michael to talk about the book. He was kind enough to answer my questions. He offered some great insights into how the recession will affect luxury brands. Best of all, Michael graciously offered a signed copy of the book to The Recessionista’s readers for a giveaway. Following is our conversation and a chance to win the book!

Pictured: The cover of the book, “Bringing Home The Birkin”

Q. Do you think luxury brands like Hermes will survive this Recession?
A. Survive, yes. However, I do think it is going to be very tough for some of them. So many of these brands have positioned themselves to target the “aspirational” shopper, and this is exactly the customer that is being hardest hit with this economy. I think the hardest hit will be the trendier brands, like Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, to name but a few.

Q. Will the Birkin go on?
Yes, but it is/will become much more available to the average person off the street. Gone are the days of having to spend a lot of money at Hermes to be able to get a Birkin. You can walk in to Hermes now and find Birkins on the shelves, available for purchase.

Q. Do you ever foresee Hermes doing pricing specials or revising prices due to the economy?
A. No, not Hermes. Too much of Hermes is handmade and labor intensive so the cost of production is high. My prediction is that the Hermes scarf and tie business will be hit badly, but their specialty items (like custom-made bags) will flourish. Very wealthy people are, more and more, going to want items that are unique and of the highest quality, to stand the test of time. Again, those aspirational items, like the Hermes scarf and tie, will suffer.

Q. Michel how can you check a Birkin to see if it’s a fake?
A. As for fake Birkins….the #1 easiest thing to say is that an authentic Birkin is hand-stitched and made using a method called “saddle stitching”. This produces a slightly irregular stitch (since it’s not machine done). If you were to compare the stitching on an authentic Birkin with any other purse, you would see that the stitches are totally different looking. A fake Birkin is machine stitched and therefore the stitches are perfect and in a perfectly straight line….if you placed a ruler down against the stitches they would be perfectly parallel to the ruler….not so with an authentic Birkin.

To learn more about the history of the Birkin, and Michael’s quest to find a real Birkin to sell on eBay, enter to win our giveaway for a signed copy of the book, Bringing Home the Birkin.” Pictured below is the signed name plate from our copy.

To enter the giveaway, simply subscribe to our newsletter by May 1, 2009. All The Recessionista subscribers will be eligible for the book giveaway so long as they subscribed to the newsletter before May 1, 2009.
I will pull from existing subscribers as well as new.
We’ll be picking a lucky winner from the entries we receive. And don’t worry, your email will not be used for anything other than the contest entry. We don’t do spam 🙂 The book giveaway is open to all of our readers around the globe.

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PS— I also entered the Vogue advertised Kérastase giveaway for the Hermes bag. Bottom line for this Recessionista, I don’t care whether they call it a Kelly or a Birkin, if it’s a giveaway for a Hermes bag, count me in! Here’s the entry form. Check the giveaway rules to see if you are eligible to win.

PSS– L’Oreal Kérastase and Vogue, put Michael Tonello on your speed dial for all things Birkin 🙂 He can help!


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.


  1. positively present

    April 25, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Very cool post! I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Jurr

    April 26, 2009 at 7:21 am

    wicked interview, and we do love 00o00, he’s too dope.

  3. Lucy in the Sky

    April 27, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    uh oh what if I already subscribed to Recessionista updates? (I’m asking for others who may have this question, too 😉 )
    I think that Kerastase giveaway is only opened to UK and Ireland residents 🙁 Great interview, btw.

  4. MH

    April 28, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Hi Lucy,
    All The Recessionista subscribers will be eligible for the book giveaway so long as they subscribed to the newsletter before May 1, 2009.
    I will pull from existing subscribers.

  5. Anonymous

    April 30, 2009 at 10:35 am

    I see that Kerastase changed the photo on their Sweepstakes site!