From its likely origins in Celtic mythology, the legend of the holy grail has long evoked happiness, glory, and extreme satisfaction. Although the mythical object is still found in film and literature as the goal of a heroic knight’s quest, it has also become a symbol for the ultimate anything: the holy grail embodies the sublime nature of the things we covet most.
As handbag lovers, the idea of the holy grail translates to the aspirational nature of collecting. You may have already read our article on Christies.com (read: What’s Your Holy Grail Bag? Let PurseBop Help You Decide) that discusses the Holy Grail Bag. The HGB differs from person to person and may change over time, but one thing stays constant: it’s the most desired handbag on your wish list at any given moment. In the Christie’s article, we compare two capsule collections, carefully chosen from their upcoming spring auctions. We handpicked the first set of handbags for a seasoned collector seeking a stand-out, novel piece. For the second set, we had in mind a more pragmatic collector who might prize neutrals and a large size that translates easily to everyday use.
Writing the article for Christie’s reignited our interest in the HGB—especially what it means for individuals within our own community. We reached out to some of our leading enthusiastic handbag aficionados and asked them these two questions:
- What is the HGB in your collection today?
- What HGB do you aspire to add to your collection in the future?
In reading through the testimonials below, you’ll quickly discover for yourself that a Holy Grail Bag takes on a different meaning for every single person! The HGB is an aspirational, moving target; it may have evolved over time, from your first Kate Spade to a Chanel Classic Flap or even a Himalayan Birkin. Following are the beautifully-written personal and emotional responses we received…
Additionally, click the HGB image for each fashionista to read their exclusive interviews here at PurseBop.com
For most Hermes collectors, their Holy Grail Bag would be a Himalayan Birkin or Kelly. But for me, my Holy Grail Bag was the gorgeous Grand Marriage, which I finally added to my collection around two years ago. I love how wearable it is since it is pretty neutral. I love that it was a limited edition, and it’s one of those pieces even some Hermes lovers don’t know exists. Overall, it’s a bag for the true aficionado. With its unique mix of crocodile, ostrich and lizard, it is the perfect balance of creativity and understated elegance! As for a future Holy Grail, a Birkin or Kelly in vert emeraude still evades me, but not I’m sure I’d go as far as to call it a HGB. I’m quite happy with my collection as it stands.
Scored my Holy Grail mini Kelly 20 in black crocodile with GHW recently and was on the verge of tears just holding her in my hands! It was such an emotional moment, I swear. On my wish list now as a future Holy Grail Bag: a Kelly 25 Himalayan. I swear I will burst out in tears if I get to add this bag to my collection. It is so elegant and fits just the right amount enough of stuff for me! She’s just perfect and would look so good as flat lay (yes, I’m thinking of all my Instagram photo-ops already…)
My all-time Holy Grail Bag is, without a doubt, my Himalayan. It was such a thrill getting THAT phone call and seeing them opening the box for the first time. For today, right at this moment (and yesterday, and for the last 9 years too, to be honest) I’ve been lusting for a black Birkin 30 in epsom leather with palladium hardware. I recently got my hands on one and I must say – OMG. It’s amazing! I am so happy, and thrilled to finally have one. And for today, and yesterday and tomorrow, it is for sure my all-time fave!
In terms of my wishlist, I’m all good now. I’m super happy with my collection. BUT if I was offered a black, matte or shiny crocodile Birkin 25 with PHW, I would probably die a little… and to be honest, I do not own a Kelly pochette yet – wouldn’t it be great to have one in a “sparkly” color or just plain black. Ok I take it back, add the exotic Birkin 25 and Kelly pochette to my wishlist!
The Holy Grail of all bags for me is undoubtedly the Hermes Himalayan Birkin, and I’m happy to say that I have acquired the Himalayan in two sizes over the past years: the 30 cm and the 35 cm. We all know that the Himalayan is one of the most desirable handbags in the world for many reasons. The beautiful Himalayan Birkin is crafted from Nilo crocodile. The hues are made to resemble the majestic Himalayan mountain range which coincidentally has been a large part of my life and cultural heritage. The bag exemplifies true craftsmanship and artistry, but also has personal significance for me.
As for the bag I aspire to own in the near future, it would definitely have to be another Hermes Birkin, no doubt… but this time in a tan matte finish! After all, one can never get enough of matte, be it in lipsticks or cars and now even bags.
It took me a while to select a specific style and size for my HGB. I wanted an exotic, but was not sure which one. I wanted to have a bag I could easily use during the daytime and evening time as well. Finally, I decided on a K32 in black with GHW. Perfect color, perfect size, perfect style.
Now, I have another HG bag in my mind. I really would like a B30 in shiny crocodile leather with GHW in Blue Electrique (well, I would not discriminate against other colors if I were able to get my hands on an exotic).
Why is it when you think you really do not want anymore bags, you start thinking about adding just one more to your collection? The last one? What is it about Hermes bags that does not allow us to stop? It is like the day before I go on a diet. I just want to eat everything!
I may not use all my bags, but I love to look at them, play with them, and just have them. It’s similar to the feeling of wanting to have an ocean view right at your doorstep, but when you finally live on the ocean you never go play in the sand…it really is a fascinating phenomenon.
I was so privileged to be able to cross off my ultimate Holy Grail Bag in the beginning stages of my handbag collecting journey! My husband is VERY into my collection and playing the Hermes “games.” He loves the bags, the history of the brand itself, and most importantly – their impressive value and resale value! Like so many serious collectors, I’ve always wanted a Himalayan Birkin, and my husband was all for it. He would bug my wonderful SA constantly. Even though he knew the Himalayan Birkin was an extreme rarity, he just figured it can’t hurt to ask, right? Well, he was right…we got the magical call last fall that there was a B30 Hima coming to my store. On Halloween, with two children in tow, we all made a journey to our Hermes and watched as he took the shrink wrap off the beautiful orange box. I was speechless at the sight of her and immediately knew why I had turned down several exotics and white Bs for this beauty. I was meant to own this perfect bag! My husband luckily thought the same and loved the scale pattern and grey tendency of this one (some seem more brownish, but mine has some grey hints). I feel incredibly lucky to have her in my collection now – it makes turning down others very easy, and I have somewhat of a minimalist collection anyway.
My current HG bag is a rested Hermes color called Soufre. I want a B30 or K28 in this color with PHW, but I know it’s nearly impossible. No other yellow or green will do! Stay tuned….
My acquired HGB in my current collection? I know my Malachite Birkin is my favourite, does that count? That said, I love each of them, and the respective unique stories that they tell. What’s next you may ask? I am not sure! Unlike many other collectors, I don’t pursue exotics. I am currently already excitedly waiting for my SO to arrive…let’s just say, that I would love to own a special piece, a one-of-a-kind custom (not from the SO menu) Birkin, if Hermes would so kindly oblige me some day…
The Hunt for the Perfect Croc: As a lover of large, neutral toned Birkins, it was a challenge for me to find a crocodile B40 that I would actually use. Already owning black leather and ostrich B40s, I wanted something with a little more charm; yet, not a color that was obnoxiously loud. That was when the quest for my croc 40 began. Traveling through the US and Europe I turned down nearly a dozen croc 40s that I knew I’d never wear (emerald, H orange, rose scheherazade, and blue saint cyr to name a few). But when I found my B40 in shiny porosus crocodile leather in the color cocoan, I immediately knew it was the perfect bag for me. I love how the lush, oversized scales complement the larger size of the bag. Depending on the light, the color is extremely dynamic, changing from a vibrant, Rouge H red to a rich, hazelnut brown, to a deep, bold black. As a New Yorker, I tend to wear all-black on a daily basis and having a bag that’s just a bit different allows it to shine in a subtle and chic way. I’m now a true believer that a rich brown can complement any outfit.
While my bank account continues on its road to recovery “post cocoan,” I will just have to dream about my next conquest. My next HG bag would be either a matte nuage (white) porosus B40 or a Himalayan blanc in size B40. I’ve only ever seen one Hima in size 40 and know it will not be an easy feat…I guess that’s part of the fun, right?
My Lady Dior and Chanel Boy are my current Holy Grail Bags. While both are timeless classics, they have updated features, which give them a fresh and playful look.
I love the new small size of the Lady Dior. It’s the perfect size for your everyday essentials. The crossbody strap is a must for mamas on the go, and the badges are a fun way to personalize your bag. While the Boy Bag is a classic and seen everywhere, this one from the Paris Salzburg collection is unique. Its glazed calfskin gives it an edgy and masculine look. I refer to it as my “sexy” boy.
While I am very happy with my current collection, I would love to add a Hermes bag to the crew one day. By one day, I mean when little fingers are not as sticky, and when my mini bags are no longer regulars at baby girl’s tea parties. But a girl can dream and I am dreaming of adding a Kelly bag to my collection one day. Its timeless silhouette, luxurious craftsmanship, array of rainbow colors, and exotic leathers make the Kelly bag my HGB.
This Rouge H Box Birkin came to me as an absolute surprise. I have always admired how box leather ages so beautifully, but never really inquired about it thinking that I didn’t have a shot, as Hermes no longer produces Box Calf. Somehow, this bag found me… thanks to my H angel! This bag is such a classic and is a very special piece in my collection. As my collection grows, I’m looking for variations to what I currently own. I’m patiently waiting on a bag in Chèvre Mysore. It’s been 18 months, 9 days, and 14 hours, but who’s counting?
Can a Holy Grail Bag be a Holy Grail Bag if you never knew you were craving it in the first place? That is the case with the jewel in my collection, my tri-colour Alligator Constance. I had never shown any interest in owning a Constance, but as soon as I saw the sheen of the scales, the subtle mixture of colours, and the large glinting H buckle, I knew this piece was special. It would take a lot to top in my estimations, so I just had to have it. The only piece that will supplant this as my favourite will be a Himalayan Birkin WHEN I receive it (see what I did there – you have to think positive!)
It is quite befitting that my Holy Grail magically appeared on my first visit to dreamy FSH Paris of all places. I vividly recall beaming with excitement at Hermès’ nearly vacant Men’s RTW section with a brand new Malachite Birkin in the nook of my arm. This mesmerizing deep-green hue was perfectly adorned in gilded gold hardware and in my ideal 30 cm size and Togo leather combo. It was love at first sight and I left the boutique twirling in delight.
The hunt for my next trophy is bound to be a prolonged one. I reckon that’s the nature of the beast given the top of my wish-list is seized by a Blue Electric Kelly 28 cm with GHW in Porosus Crocodile. The thought of gliding my fingertips over those shiny scales makes me giddy and weak at the knees.
My current Holy Grail is my Hermès Lagon swift Kelly 32 with GHW… one of my favorite colors of all time, and I just adore the lushness of swift leather. Topped with rare GHW (it is more commonly found with PHW), this bag is just a dream come true for me.
Holy Grail Bags I aspire to in the future are all Hermès: something in Rose shocking chèvre, and perhaps if I’m really dreaming, something exotic like shiny croc Rose Scheherazade, Bleu Izmir, Vert Emeraude, Ultraviolet, and a matte croc/gator neutral color like a pale to mid grey. A girl can dream can’t she?
My Holy Grail bag is a Birkin 35 with gold in Rouge Pivoine. I love bright colors and I wanted a fun, but also unique combination for such an expensive bag. I’m so happy to have added this absolutely gorgeous chameleon red/coral/fuchsia Birkin to my collection this past weekend.
The Holy Grail I aspire to get in the future is a Kelly 32 since I only have Birkins. I’m not sure about the color yet.
I am a color person. I go after colors rather than bags. I have never been more obsessed with a color as I was and still am with Hermes malachite. Unfortunately by the time I got into H, I was told by my SA that malachite had been rested. Fast forward 8 months (August 2016) and I found my miracle color in the most magical city in this world where my H dreams came true – Paris. I call my malachite B30 Togo with GHW my “FSH miracle.” It is my most beloved and used bag. I always say if I were to have just one bag in my lifetime, this would be it! After methodically going after colors I love, I am now ready to wrap my bag collection with a classic. I’m saving the best for the last: a black Birkin with GHW.
We’d love for you to join in on the Holy Grail Bag celebration. In honor of these lovely fashionistas’ testimonials, tag your own HGB Instagram photos to #PurseBopsHolyGrailBag. We can’t wait to see them!
(Also, share the detailed story of your HGB in the conversation that’s already unfolding on BopTalk!)
Read related articles below:
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Irresistible, yet Unattainable: Hermes Mini Bags