Accessories Fashion

Catherine B at Liberty of London

By Chere Di Boscio

“I don’t want to own what everybody else has,” says quintessential Parisian Catherine B. “That’s why I love vintage. And I specialise in Hermes and Chanel simply because they are the best.”


Image: Catherine B

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. 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.


Image: Catherine B

Highlights of  the exhibition include a mini black lizard skin Kelly bag, a Birkin bag illustrated by artist Antoine Kruk and several rare 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 give some context to the items.  


Image: Liberty of London

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–although they were since taken off, the ghosts of their forms are still slightly visible on the leather. Apparently, 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.


image: Susie Bubble on Instagram


The exhibition 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 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.  


As for Catherine’s Chanel collection? We’re waiting for the next exhibition, Liberty!

Main image: Liberty of London

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