Written by Leah Dolan, CNN

A US artwork collective has ripped aside 4 Hermès Birkin bags in an effort to create what might be the world’s most costly sandal.

The pair of so-called “Birkinstocks,” which has no official affiliation to German shoe model Birkenstock, are priced between $34,000 and $76,000.
The Brooklyn-based group MSCHF, which has made headlines for its sequence of irreverent artwork initiatives, spent $122,500 in new Birkin bags — the luxurious style merchandise made well-known by British singer and actress Jane Birkin — to make use of as uncooked supplies for the mission. The determine does not embody the price of the sandals’ cork-latex sole, custom-made gold vermeil buckle and the precise manufacturing of the shoe — the latter of which was difficult given the primary handful of leather-based employees approached by MSCHF refused to take part. That reticence could also be indicative of the bag’s cult standing — a diamond-encrusted Birkin as an example has damaged the report twice for the costliest purse ever bought at public sale. First in 2016 for over $300,000 and once more in 2017 for almost $400,000.

“Just the act of cutting up a Birkin bag scared so many people,” Lukas Bentel, MSCHF’s artistic director, mentioned in a cellphone interview. “A Birkin bag is like an art object. It’s so sacred, you can’t damage it.”

MSCHF "Birkinstock" made from a destroyed $31,000 Hermès crocodile 35 bag.

MSCHF “Birkinstock” made from a destroyed $31,000 Hermès crocodile 35 bag. Credit: MSCHF

MSCHF have been fascinated by this worry, which matches past a respect for style and into economics. “Birkin bags have an average 14% annual return on investment,” learn a manifesto printed on the mission’s web site, “consistently beating the S&P 500” — an index used to gauge the worth of large-cap US equities.

“It’s also something where to actually benefit from that value increase, you should not do anything with your Birkin bag, you should keep it in your apartment (and) in your closet,” mentioned Bentel.

But including worth to gadgets in counterintuitive methods is a specialty of MSCHF, who bought three six-foot-tall hand-painted replicas of US medical payments to a New York gallery for $73,360 final October. The cash was used to repay three participant’s medical money owed.
And they’re no stranger to destruction — particularly in terms of utilizing costly objects, as materials for his or her works. In May 2020, the group bought a $30,000 Damien Hirst print portray, after which cut and bought it in particular person items, turning a revenue.

The Birkin buzz

The artwork collective determined to emulate the high-low collaboration mannequin, a format that has been sweeping the style world in recent times.

“The people that you see wearing Birkenstocks are not the same people you would assume own Birkin bags,” mentioned Lukas Bentel, “and this is just punching those two ends of the spectrum together.”

Despite most luxurious gadgets promising some return on funding, the Birkin bag was an integral a part of MSCHF’s imaginative and prescient. “It’s a more singular object” mentioned Kevin Wiesner, “a Gucci bag means any bag that Gucci makes. A Birkin bag is always a Birkin bag.”

MSCHF "Birkinstock" made from a destroyed $19,500  Hermès Taurillon Clemence 35 bag.

MSCHF “Birkinstock” made from a destroyed $19,500 Hermès Taurillon Clemence 35 bag.
Credit: MSCHF

The Hermès Birkin bag has loved a gentle rise in reputation ever since its creation in 1984. First flaunted on the arms of celebrities reminiscent of Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham (who reportedly owns 100 variations of the long-lasting bag, costing round $2mil in whole), the Birkin bag is now a favorite of many US rappers.

Artists Saweetie, Cardi B, Drake, City Girls and Meek Mill have all made their penchant for the accent clear by means of both Instagram posts or lyrics — bypassing the fabled ready lists and bringing a brand new demographic to the luxurious signifier.

There are fewer than ten Birkinstocks that can be purchased on a made-to-order foundation. R&B singer-songwriter Kehlani and rapper Future have been among the many first to purchase a pair earlier than Monday’s official drop, in line with MSCHF.

The assimilation of Birkin bags into hip-hop tradition was necessary for MSCHF, who consider it is this multiplicity that makes them such compelling cultural objects.

“Cardi B purchased a Birkin bag and all sudden it was trending on Twitter, and you’re just like, why?” mentioned Bentel, “But the symbol of the bag is just so powerful culturally, it’s the perfect building block to make something even crazier.”

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