Last night it was reported that Lady Gaga arrived in Tokyo with a “defaced” Hermes Birkin bag tattooed with Japanese text. The more appropriate word is customized. Others might even say enhanced. I say Gaga took a hallowed and timeless piece, something forever linked to the singer/actress/style icon Jane Birkin–that starts at about $6,000–and with the swipe of a 70-cent Sharpie, made it her own.
The first thing that came to mind when I saw Gaga’s Japanese ode to her “Little Monsters” was Marc Jacobs and his work with Stephan Sprouse (and Murakami and Richard Prince), bag collections that have gone on to generate as much as a half a billion dollars for Louis Vuitton.
I’m curious to see if Hermes Art Director Pierre Alexis Dumas seizes this opportunity before another fashion house jumps in to make a deal with the pop sensation and serial collaborator. Regardless, referring to the Birkin bag as defaced misses the postmodern statement Gaga is making, (let alone the shrewdly executed publicity stunt for the luxury and Gaga obsessed Japanese), and failed to see her bold reinterpretation of a classic. Once again the Lady proves that she, not to mention her audacious style, is fearless.