By Chere Di Boscio
Indeed, no one knows haute vintage quite like Catherine does. The world-leading expert in these two chic brands owns several pieces that are museum quality, including the original Birkin bag made for Jane Birkin by Jean-Louis Dumas himself, and has brought them to Liberty of London.
They are stunning pieces that any fashionista would be proud to sport – but don’t get too excited: they’re not all for sale.
Instead, many of Catherine’s best Hermes pieces are on display at the Heritage Suite at London’s iconic department store from 14 – 17 November, in honour of the French brand’s 100th anniversary.
Highlights of the exhibition include a rare mini Kelly bag, a Birkin bag illustrated by artist Antoine Kruk and several uniquely printed Hermes scarves. Each piece in her carefully curated Hermès collection has been selected based on its rarity and quality. Catherine herself is on hand throughout the exhibition, to answer questions and give some context to the items.
I was fascinated, for example, to learn that the original Birkin bag was once covered in travel stickers from destinations visited by its actress/owner, and although they were since taken off, the ghosts of their forms are still slightly visible on the leather.
Apparently, the bag was originally a hand-held purse, but Jane asked for a strap to be added to her handbag, as she had just given birth to her daughter Charlotte when the bag was given to her, and found it easier to carry a baby when her bag was slung over her shoulder.
Visiting the exhibition is a bit like shopping, and a bit like going to a museum. It’s fun, it’s informative, and it’s beautiful to see. No wonder it has been buzzing every day, with visits from not only curious Liberty shoppers, but also the likes of uber-blogger Susie Bubble, the world’s youngest couture designer Andrea Brocca and visits from loads of global style editors.
Of course, certain items will also be available to purchase too, from Liberty’s exquisitely stocked 2nd floor vintage department. If you can’t make it to the show, you may be able to catch a bit of it on Channel 4’s TV behind-the-scenes series about Liberty of London.
And as for Catherine’s world-renowned Chanel collection? We’re waiting for the next exhibition, Liberty!
Main image: Liberty of London
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