In pop culture, the Birkin has become a symbol of ultimate luxury, although its ostentatious use by the wives and girlfriends of British footballers during the 2006 World Cup caused some fashion writers to speculate about its continued desirability. In Paris it has been associated with, among others, so-called BCBG (bon chic bon genre) women. Jane Birkin remarked that by 2006, the fame of the bag had exceeded her own: "Now when my daughter [actress Charlotte Gainsbourg] goes to America, they ask her if she is the daughter of the bag."
In recent years the bag has featured prominently on popular television shows such as Sex and the City, Gilmore Girls, and Will & Grace. In the final season of The Sopranos, Dr. Melfi carried a Birkin bag into her own therapy session. In Gossip Girl, Lily van der Woodsen carries her Birkin bag in black and tan in season one and in the next two seasons she is seen using many other different Birkin bags. In Gilmore Girls episode 6, season 6 (Title: Welcome to the Dollhouse) Rory is given a Birkin Bag from Logan. In this scene she is not aware of how special the Birkin Bag is, but gets clued-in later on in the episode.
A widely publicized incident at London's Heathrow Airport in 2006 where actress Lindsay Lohan's orange Birkin bag was reportedly stolen drew further attention to the bag. The actress claimed that the lost bag was full of valuables worth upwards of $1,000,000. It was returned shortly thereafter. Sophie Albou, founder of the fashion house Paul & Joe, claimed to have bought a Birkin each season for ten years, describing her collection as "an expensive addiction but ... part of my heritage as a French woman".
In 2009, the first photo art book, titled Hermes Addiction, was written by personal shopper and photographer, Roslynn N. Gaiter Matthew. Hermes Addiction is the first book to showcase over $500,000 of Hermes Birkin handbags including exotic and leather skins, as well as the most expensive Birkin bags currently available. Gaiter Matthew additionally presents Hermes Birkins with diamond covered hardware as well as those made with rare Himalaya crocodile skin. While the Hermes Addiction book is an artistic photo book, it also serves as a detailed guide to the many colors and leathers, as well as the overall structure of this iconic handcrafted bag. Hermes Addiction Photo Book.
The Birkin has received some notoriety, being depicted as a symbol of excess by Pulitzer prize winner Lucinda Franks as the bag of choice for Ruth Madoff, the wife of the convicted fraudster, Bernie Madoff.