To the vast population these look similar; they are after all both iconic pieces upon which many handbag designs are based. And if you are reading this you are probably quite capable of differentiating between a 32 Kelly and 35 Birkin, but just to be sure: the Hermes Kelly has one handle instead of the Birkin’s two, has an important shoulder strap where the Birkin has none, is slightly smaller in depth, and overall is a more elegant bag.
This bag comes in several different leathers, skins and an extensive array of colors. All leathers are professionally treated which is reflected in the quality aesthetic of the bag’s surface. Bag is structured and sturdy and does not collapse on itself. Top handle stands straight. Lanyard with keys, known as the clochette, hangs from a D-ring. Shoulder strap attached with small lobster claw on each side. Turn lock closure on front of bag. Hermes Bag reads HERMèS PARIS MADE IN FRANCE in metallic ink above turn lock and on inner shoulder strap. If you run your fingers over the lettering, the letters will feel pressed. Ink color reflects the color of the hardware.
There are two models of Kelly bag: the structured Sellier, with the stitching on the outside, and the newer, more contemporary version called the Retourne which is stitched internally. Essentially the retourne is created and handstitched inside out, an amazing feat! The craftsman in the last stages of creation turns the bag inside out so the stitching needs to be slightly looser. You can see the corners on the sellier are more sharpely defined than those on the retourne.