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Bringing Home The Birkin – an interview with Michael Tonello

"Bringing Home The Birkin!" is a fabulously juicy, highly entertaining and ENERGIZING book by Michael Tonello chronicling his adventures of buying and reselling the inimitable Hermes Birkin.

As mothers, we are constantly looking for an extra burst of energy to get us through the day. With all of the multi-tasking that we do, who can blame us? We need it, we crave it, we enjoy it! That energy comes in many forms: our baby’s giggle; a Diet Coke; a killer workout; a great gossip magazine; and now Bringing Home The Birkin! This fabulously juicy, highly entertaining and ENERGIZING book by Michael Tonello chronicles his adventures of buying and reselling the inimitable Hermes Birkin. It is a MUST read, a treat, and will give you that extra burst of energy needed when the laundry piles are looking like Mt. Everest.

Don’t know what a “Birkin” is? Here’s the rundown:

Birkin, Jane (bûr-kĭn, jān), 1946--, n.:

British actress and singer, born in London. The French fashion house Hermes named its

famous handbag after her.

Birkin Bag (bûr-kĭn băg), 1984--, n.:

From the second it was first photographed on the arm of Jane Birkin in 1984, this

handbag has been the most coveted luxury bag in the world.*

*It can take over two years to get to the top of a Birkin bag waiting list. For more than twenty years the Hermès Birkin bag has been an iconic symbol of fashion, luxury and wealth. Though the bag is routinely seen dangling from the wrists of oft-photographed celebrities, regular folk have a better chance of climbing Mount Everest in Prada pumps than possessing one of these coveted carryalls. But as any clever fashionista knows, there must be some way to beat the system and traverse the minefield that is the legendary two-year-waiting list.

I caught up with the author, Michael Tonello, who had just returned home from a book tour in New York:

PROMOM: what inspired you to put pen to paper and chronicle your escapades?

MT:During the years of my Birkin travels people would ask me what I did for work. When I explained it all to them the inevitable response would be "wow, sounds like some crazy book or mini-series". Then a family tragedy (which I write about in the book) made me think that I should try and write this all down on paper.

PROMOM: As moms, we know that many tales are exaggerated, was the “Birkin sting operation” enhanced at all?

MT:No, in fact we played it down a bit and tried to make it a bit more funny than it was when it originally happened. At the time it was very scary.

PROMOM: Who has influenced your personal style?

MT:Thom Browne

PROMOM: what is the best advice that your mother gave to you?

MT: Don't get caught up in negativity and always see the glass as half-full.

PROMOM: After returning to the states for your book tour, do you miss living here?

MT:I don't miss living there. There are people there I miss though.

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PROMOM: what advice would you have for the woman who wants the luxury “it thing” in her life like a Birkin, but does not have the means?

MT: Stop constantly buying "stuff". (I'm sure her closets are already full.) Save your money until you can afford that one special "it thing" will bring you so much more joy than all of that other stuff.

PROMOM: what is your favorite “go to” store in the states?

MT: Bergdorf Goodman Men, 3rd floor.

PROMOM: do you consider yourself an authority on style?

MT:I'm an authority on my own style.

PROMOM: what does “style” mean to you?

MT:A definitive look, good or bad.

PROMOM: your book gives the reader that “I can do anything feeling”, did you intend that?

MT: No...I really just told my story.

PROMOM: What happens if you walk into an Hermes store today? (Is there a photo of you in the back room with a bull’s-eye?)

MT:Ha! No, I don't think so (or at least I hope not). Actually I received a very warm welcome at the Hermes store in Beverly Hills. I stood inside the store and spoke with about eight salespeople for nearly an hour about my book. They were very kind and laughed a lot.

PROMOM: Did Hermes officially respond to your book?


PROMOM: what was your favorite city to visit during your search for Birkins?

MT: Paris. I know the city very well.I'm a creature of habit and love going to all of my favorite haunts. There is so much todo inParis. Your favorite hotel ever and why?MT:Hotel Okura in Tokyo.

PROMOM: Who should play you in the movie? You know I think Robert Downey Jr.

MT: My dream would be Robert Downey Jr. or perhaps Johnny Depp.

PROMOM: Given your experience purchasing these bags, did you ever consider designing an “it bag?” or designing anything at all?

MT: I may design a line of handbags at some point...I am in talks about this now. Whether one of them becomes an "it bag" remains to be seen.

PROMOM: what is the craziest/most obsessed Birkin client story?

MT: I think the Aston Martin car story in my book is pretty over the top. Her dining room table literally had several hundred Hermes boxes on it, many of which she had never even opened.

Vicki is offering TodaysMama readers 50% off at Use coupon code CELEBRATION - because while we can’t all have a Birkin, we CAN have promom couture style!


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