Hermes says in talks with Birkin about renaming croc bag

PARIS (REUTERS) - Hermes said on Friday it is in talks with actress and singer Jane Birkin about her request to remove her name from the luxury brand's best-selling crocodile bag because she disagreed with the farming and slaughtering practices of one of its suppliers.

In a statement last month, Ms Birkin sought to disassociate herself from the Birkin Croco bag - which costs more than 20,000 euros (S$31,502) - after seeing a video showing how live reptiles were skinned or sawn open at a farm in Texas that supplies Hermes.

Hermes chief executive Axel Dumas said the brand told Birkin it had launched an investigation into the farm's practices and was trying to impose higher ethical standards regarding the treatment of crocodiles at all its suppliers.

"We have preserved a relationship of trust and friendship with Jane Birkin," Mr Dumas said on Friday at the company's half-year results presentation.

"We are in talks with her" about the matter, Mr Dumas said, adding that for the moment, no lawyers were involved.

"There has been a lot of emotion on her behalf, on our behalf, we still see each other," Mr Dumas said.

The bag, named after British-born Birkin, who found fame in Swinging London in the 1960s, is one of the most sought-after luxury products, partly because Hermes produces fewer than there is demand for it, creating waiting lists.

Many customers, who do not want to have to wait more than a year, opt to pay hefty fees, which can reach several thousands of euros, to specialised buyers who scout for it on their behalf.