OUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERMES
The company’s notable eye for craftsmanship provided a seamless transition into other areas of design and Hermès quickly rose as the most coveted handbags in the world. The luxury brand’s legacy continues to this day with the Birkin, Kelly and Evelyne, proving its label and handbags are worth lusting after, time and time again.
A massive component to the allure of Hermes lies in its exclusivity. Even for the elite, the waitlist for a new Hermes handbag can be up to six years and can range from £9,500 to £200,000. Aside from the rarity of these luxurious handbags, the expert and meticulous hand laboured craftsmanship paired with the superior quality of materials truly makes them worth the hefty price tag and places them on pedestals as collectable artefacts.
Another layer to the Hermes line of prestige is the special order handbags branded with a horseshoe stamp marking its novelty. Handbags dawning this imprint are special order and one of a kind making them even more distinctive and valuable, as bespoke orders are not available to the public. While only the world’s top Hermes collectors are invited to place custom orders, they can take up to a few years to fulfil.
Despite the wide range of handbags and leather goods that emerge for this inventive French design house, three bags have managed to steal and remain in the spotlight since their inception making them some of the most sought after handbags in the world.
Conceived by Émile-Maurice Hermès, the original Kelly was the ‘Sac à dépêches’, produced for his wife to carry in 1935. Over twenty years later the bag achieved global recognition in 1956 when Princess Grace Kelly used her ‘Sac à dépêches’ to hide her peaking baby bump from paparazzi. Enchanted by the bag’s chic presence in the images, Hermes began receiving countless requests for what customers referred to as ‘The Kelly Bag’ and thus was renamed after the princess
The Birkin bag was birthed out of a chance meeting between actress Jane Birkin and Jean- Louis Dumas, the creative director of Hermes who sat next to each other on an international flight Taken aback by the less than stylish tote that Birkin was travelling with, Dumas inquired why she wasn’t accompanied with something more substantial to which Birkin explained she felt leather bags were too structured for her preference. At that moment, the two put their heads together to design what is now known as the Birkin using the back of an airsickness bag.
Leaving the factory the same day as Hermes designer Catherine Chaillet’s fifth child, Constance was born, the Constance bag fit the market in 1959 named after the designer's newborn daughter. The Constance bag is a favourite among collectors for its sophisticated shape and simple functionality, although it may be harder to find than the Kelly or Birkin.