If you watch any iteration of Bravo’s Real Housewives universe, you’ll know that, regardless of location, cast members love to flaunt designer logos, wear flashy jewelry and carry big, expensive handbags.

No franchise’s obsession is more apparent than The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, where one recent birthday party even featured an over-the-top cake version of the iconic Hermes Birkin bag. Actress and RHOBH star Garcelle Beauvais joked that this dessert was the closest she’d probably come to the real thing, since the bag is as famous for its five- and six-figure price tag as its wait list.

I first heard about the Birkin on Sex and the City Season 4, Episode 11, “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda.” It was a major turning point in the series. Miranda finds out she’s pregnant with Steve’s baby and doesn’t want to keep it, Charlotte’s guilting her about it because she’s in the midst of confronting her own infertility, and Carrie finds a way to make it all about herself because that’s just what Carrie does.

But even more memorably, Samantha abuses the sacred privilege granted to her as a publicist with celebrity clients by using Lucy Liu’s name to secure herself a prized, impossible-to-get, Hermes purse. It’s all seemingly worth the professional blowback though, because as the sales clerk so infamously utters as Sam makes her illustrious purchase, “It’s not a bag, it’s a Birkin.”

Twenty years later, the grotesquely priced status symbol, which costs anywhere from $10,000 for a smaller, classic version to $2 million for a diamond-encrusted, rose gold inlaid edition, re-entered the cultural zeitgeist when Safdie-brothers muse, Julia Fox, showed off not one, not two, but FOUR Birkin bags at her birthday party in February, gifted to her by her ex, Kanye West.

While the line between Sam Jones and Julia Fox is probably shorter than any of us would like to admit, the bizarrely plain, relatively boring bag is coveted by everyone from fashion savvy TikTok teens to celebrities like Jennifer (Affleck) Lopez and Drake. There’s no populace, however, who reveres or discusses it more than the current cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Even the most passive watcher of RHOBH will have noted the number of times Kyle Richards, Dorit Kemsley, or Erika Jayne greedily eye a fellow cast member’s strategically placed bag, or clock the way Birkins function as a shorthand for status among the Fox Force Five.

For the women of RHOBH, this bag is the moment, and who has one and who wants one helps determine their position in the ever-slippery, always-changing power positions of Bravo’s rich and famous-adjacent in the 90210.

So how do they rank?

Diana Jenkins

Beverly Hills’ newest housewife is also its wealthiest, and she’ll be the first to tell you about it. Jenkins wears her wealth on her sleeve, her shoulder and her hats, flaunting logos as ostentatiously and obviously as she licks her lips. She proved just how much money she has to burn recently when she brought a $250,000, diamond-clasped bag to Garcelle Beauvais’ 55th birthday party. While that Hermes she was holding is technically a Kelly, not a Birkin, Jenkins’ fiance, Asher confirmed that the Yugoslavia-born divorcee is a compulsive collector of the pricey purses, which are named after English actress Jane Birkin.

Kyle Richards

While Diana may have slightly more Birkins than Kyle, no one talks as much about the handbags as the OG Housewife. Though she temporarily slid off the power rankings entirely when her collection was infamously burglarized, Kyle has been loudly and proudly rebuilding her leathery arsenal, including this blue one, this brown one and this pink one that says “Real Housewives” on it. She’s even been quoted as saying she buys “four of everything” for her daughters, which is a delightful way of saying, “Tax the rich.”

Sutton Stracke

You just know southern belle Sutton Stracke has a shitload of expensive purses lined up pristinely inside one of her many custom closets. Her entire introduction to the RHOBH franchise was as Lisa Rinna’s rich “friend” who shops for couture and gets custom Dolce and Gabbana sent to her by the designers themselves. She’s also much more subtle about her acquisitions than Kyle or Diana, which places her at the top of the power rankings of my heart, but third overall. Here she is elegantly holding a yellow Birkin that cost more than the down payment on my house.

Dorit Kemsley

Our brave little Dorit fancies herself a fashionista and that includes owning a Birkin or two. After her incredible performance with Jamie Lee Curtis at Kyle’s recent fundraising luncheon, whatever Dorit wants, Dorit gets, as far as I’m concerned.

Crystal Kung Minkoff

Other than the “ugly, leather pants,” from last season, Crystal’s most memorable Housewives moment is the introduction of her $95,000 Hermes Fauborg Birkin, which looks like the outside of the shops on the Rue Fauborg in Paris. Even though I genuinely think Crystal is a far more dynamic cast member than she gets credit for, this purse definitely gave her an instant personality in the eyes of Kyle Richards, who immediately saw the newbie in a different light when she spotted this hideous purse on her kitchen table. That’s the power of a Birkin, baby.

Garcelle Beauvais

While the running gag at Garcelle’s 55th birthday party was that her Birkin cake was the closest she’d ever get to the actual thing, The Real host has hinted that she’s finally secured the bag, so to speak, and bought herself a genuine one. Since she’s been carrying this season of RHOBH on her back, it’s the least she deserves.

Erika Jayne

In her dreams.



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