Designer Focus – Hermès

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One of the most exclusive and sought-after brands for handbags is Hermès. In terms of quality and enduring appearance, Hermès is considered the crème de la crème of vintage handbags. 

Even after decades of use, a Hermès bag will give credence to the idea that you get what you pay for. Because the quality and craftsmanship of a Hermès handbag is nothing less than the stuff of divinity, expect to pay more for it than you have any other designer handbag. Even a pre-owned Hermès handbag can fetch prices in the thousands of dollars.

A Short History of Hermès

Hermès got its start in 1837 when German-born Thierry Hermès immigrated to France and established a harness business along the Grands Boulevards quarter in Paris. Even from the beginning of the business, Hermès was known to provide high-quality leather goods to their customers. The workshop would later win awards for best in its category at local expositions at the Expositions Universelles in 1855 and 1867. 

When Thierry Hermès retired in 1880, his son, Charles-Emile, moved the shop to its current home on 4 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris. The business changed its focus from harness and saddlery to include saddle bags for wealthy clients to carry their saddlery when traveling.

Charles-Emille’s sons Adolphe Emile-Maurice carried on the tradition when their father Charles-Emile retired and went on to furnish saddles and other equestrian tack to Czar Nicholas's family of Russia. A short time later, Adolphe Hermès decided he was no longer interested in being a part of the family business and left his brother Emile-Maurice in charge.

In 1914, Emile-Maurice Hermès was able to obtain the exclusive rights to use zippers for both clothing and leather accessories, which at the time was known as the Hermès fastener.

In the 1920s, Hermès began to focus on handbags, accessories, and clothing. It was in the 1930s that the brand produced its square scarves. In 1956, actress Grace Kelly used a Hermès crocodile handbag to conceal her pregnancy from the paparazzi. Later Hermes would rename their Sac à dépêches the “Kelly bag” after her. The bag is now one of the best-known and most highly sought-after Hermès handbags.

Over the following decades, Hermès expanded to become an international brand, with shops opening internationally in the 1970s. In the 1980s, the Hermes brand expanded into home accessories, including tableware, crystal, and fine china. 

In the 1990s (1993), Hermès became a publicly traded company on the Paris stock exchange. During the same period, the Hermès brand began divesting itself of franchised stores and opening up other boutiques that the Hermès company directly controlled. Even today, the Dumas family, who are related to the Hermès family by marriage holds between 75 to 80 percent of the stock of Hermès.

Hermès has been known to work with some of the world’s most exclusive designers, including Jean-Paul Gaultier, Bernard Sans, Claude Brouet, Nadege Vanhhe-Cybulski, and Lola Prusac.

Along with top designer collaborations, Hermès is known for its selection of only the finest leathers, durable quality hardware, and the ability to custom make pieces to their client's exact specifications. This is why, despite a high MSRP, these bags appreciate in value over time.

Celebrities Who Love Hermès

It’s no secret that for more than a century and a half, Hermès has been a brand that is almost exclusive to the rich and famous. Celebrities that have been seen flaunting their Hermès bags include Miranda Kerr, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, and her sister Kylie Jenner, Heidi Klum, and Rhianna.

If you have a Hermes bag or accessory that needs an updated and exclusive look, schedule an appointment with one of our design experts today. They will be happy to listen to your ideas or make suggestions to create a look that is truly one of a kind.