Hermès Birkin Sellier: Everything you Need to Know
For decades, Hermès fans’ fiercest debates surrounded choosing between Birkin and Kelly bags. Often, the key points were comparing the relaxed, casual flair of the Birkin with the greater polish and elegance of the Kelly bag. Yet this comparison was truly based on contrasting the Sellier style Kelly with the “inside-out” construction style of the Birkin, known as Retourne.
While the Kelly bag has been available both in Sellier and Retourne styles, the Birkin maintained the classic, laid-back style originated in 1984. With the recent introduction of the Hermès Birkin Sellier, fashionable women the world over can now choose classic Retourne or structure Sellier in a Birkin.
Let’s take a close look at the Birkin Sellier.
What is Hermès Sellier?
In French, “sellier” translates as saddler. When Hermès names their construction style Sellier, they pay homage to the design house’s origins as the premier saddler to French nobility. Hermès Sellier refers to the construction style that uses external stitching. This produces crisp, clean lines and a highly structured bag that maintains its shape admirably over years and even decades of use. The Sellier style has visible stitches that may match or contrast with the bag’s leather color. Further, the leather’s cut edge is finished with wax, adding subtle color to the bag’s appeal.
Hermès Sellier contrasts with the classic construction of the Birkin, the Retourne style. Since its introduction, the Birkin bag’s construction has involved an additional step. After all the seams are sewn, the leather bag is turned inside out, so the stitching is hidden inside the bag. This produces softer, curved lines at the seams with piping. This gives the bag a more relaxed silhouette that may slouch a bit more over time.
Crafted from more flexible leathers with more relaxed sides, Retourne bags can be overstuffed more readily than Sellier styles. Until recently, the Retourne was the only construction method used for the Birkin.
History of the Hermès Birkin Sellier
In 2014, Hermès rocked the fashion world. They introduced the first Birkin Sellier, a Black 40cm with palladium hardware. The interior of the limited edition bag was unlined, and the bag was crafted from the rigid leather Vache Hunter. The new bag was produced with Hermès’ signature scarcity, and sold out in a flash.
It wasn’t until 2019 that the Birkin Sellier was introduced more widely. It was first introduced in Vert Criquet epsom leather. Soon afterward, the Birkin Sellier was offered in a wide range of colors in Epsom, Veau Madame and Veau Monsieur leather and with a finished interior of Chevre leather in the 25cm, 30cm, and 35cm sizes. Like the classic Birkin, the Sellier still offers an interior slip pocket and a zippered pocket on the opposite side of the bag.
The new, highly-structured silhouette of the Birkin Sellier lends itself to the 2019 limited edition Hermès Faubourg bag. At 20cm, this is the smallest Birkin Sellier produced. The architecture of the Faubourg flagship store is replicated in these unique bags. Arched windows, awnings, and brickwork are rendered in a mix of colors and leathers, topped by a matte alligator flap for the store’s roof.
These extraordinary bags have been offered in different color schemes illustrating day, night, midnight, and morning. These are among the most expensive luxury handbags ever to be sold. A collection of all four Faubourg bags is called a Place de Faubourg or Faubourg Square.
The Birkin Sellier vs. Birkin Retourne
Currently, Hermès continues to produce Birkin Selliers, though there is no guarantee this will continue. What is indisputable is that the public adores the option. While Birkin Selliers sell out immediately, most Birkins do due to the brand’s extraordinarily effective scarcity marketing principle. So, to get a better handle on just how popular the Birkin Sellier is compared to the Retourne, let’s turn to the resale market.
Although relevant auction data dates to 2020, we see a distinct resale discrepancy between Birkin Sellier and Retourne models. While Retourne styles reliably auction well above their original list price, Birkin Selliers typically fetch a much higher price, as much as 70% more than the Retourne. This might appear to be a function of how new the Birkin Sellier is on the market. However, we also see Sellier Kelly bags outselling Retourne Kellys by a 25-35% margin.
Is Birkin Sellier Right for You?
We love Hermès’ new Birkin Sellier.
Collectors find the Birkin Sellier fills a void in their collections. The bag is chic and contemporary in style. The construction enables the bag to stand up on its feet and retain its shape over continued use. Furthermore, the Birkin Sellier’s polished look translates beautifully to more formal occasions, whereas even the smallest Retourne Birkin 25 does not feel dressy enough for evening occasions.
The single-handled Kelly Sellier, while more formal than the classic Birkin, has less interior space and a more complicated closure. While the shoulder strap is a plus for many, the Kelly must be worn closed with the flap on the toggle. In comparison, the Birkin’s two handles enable the bag to stay closed and to open easily when needed.
The introduction of the Birkin Sellier brought changes to Hermès product line. At this time, Hermès only offers Epsom and Veau Madame leather Birkins in the Sellier style. The Retourne Birkin in Epsom and Veau Madame has been discontinued, at least for now. Special Order Birkins in 25cm in these leathers are also only offered in the Sellier style.
The Birkin Sellier is a welcome addition to the Hermès handbag line, even though it costs more than the classic retourne due to the greater craftsmanship involved. Even if a Birkin lover has a Retourne bag in one color, the addition of a Sellier in the same color is akin to adding a brand new style bag. So collectors can continue to add to their collection by adding new colors, as well as adding Birkin Selliers in colors they have in the Retourne style.
Clearly there is a place for both the Birkin Retourne and the Birkin Sellier. You are the only one who knows which bag best suits your specific needs and style.
How to Buy an Hermès Birkin Sellier
The hot new Birkin Sellier updates the story of how best to buy an Hermès bag. Of course, you cannot walk into an Hermès boutique to purchase a Birkin Sellier. If the mythical waiting list existed, it would surely be years long for this coveted bag. Instead, we recommend purchasing from a qualified Hermès dealer like Madison Avenue Couture.
We are America’s largest and most trusted online dealer of store-fresh Hermès handbags, and stock a variety of Birkin Sellier bags. Each of our bags is in stock and available for immediate delivery. Shop Madison Avenue Couture with confidence!