Now boasting a number of standout collections that everyone with an eye for fashion will have heard of, from the iconic Hermès Kelly to the famous Birkin bag and everything in between, Hermès has long been a staple brand in the luxury goods and accessories market.
With the preloved market particularly drawn to Hermès as a brand with history, heart, and character, not to mention high quality and aesthetically pleasing bags, in this article we’re looking beyond the bags themselves to consider the brand as a whole. Where did Hermès come from, what were its origin products, and how did it grow such a cult following that watches out for every new product release?
Let’s take a closer look.
Who are Hermès?
With origins in France, Hermès is now recognised as one of the leading luxury French brands, designing and manufacturing leather goods, bags, perfume, tableware, even furniture. One of the standout features of the Hermès brand is its attention to detail, with each bag taking weeks and sometimes even months to make due to the individual process that sees each, brought to life by skilled, artisan crafters and professionals.
You only have to look at the wait time for an authentic Hermès bag in the current market, to understand the incredible presence that the brand holds in the marketplace. Getting a brand new Hermès straight off the shelf is near impossible without sitting on waitlists and having the right connections – with preloved Hermès products often selling for high returns as a result.
Where did Hermès begin?
The backstory of the Hermès brand lies in France in the 1830s, when Thierry Hermès opened a harness and saddle shop to serve the horse riders in Paris. The high quality of the products he produced, combined with his use of the finest leather and the ornate stitching, soon meant he was noticed by noblemen and royalty, with his harnesses featuring at the ‘Expositions Universelles’ in Paris in 1855 and 1867.
It wasn’t until 1900 that Hermès created its first bag – first entering the accessories market with a saddlebag for riders, before eventually expanding beyond the realms of riding accessories in the 1920s.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Who is Thierry Hermès?
The founder of Hermès, Thierry Hermès was a skilled leather goods worker, who utilised his skill to gain a foothold in the busy market of riding harnesses – with a special type of stitch which could only be finished by hand, winning him favour among customers from all walks of life.
It wasn’t until Thierry Hermès’ children took over the business that Hermès expanded into other markets – with handbags and other leather goods being manufactured as a result of the expected decline in harness demand as the modern world began to catch up.
How has Hermès changed over the years?
To consider how Hermès has changed over the years, you need only look at the vast collection of handbags now produced by the luxury brand. Over the years, Hermès has launched a selection of bags which have all become brand staples – namely the Birkin and the Kelly bags – however, you will notice that small details change with every new release.
Just as Hermès expanded its product line to keep up with changing trends, expanding outside of the riding sector to remain relevant, so too do the details on its bags and other luxury accessories – with colour, material finish, hardware, size, and detailed features all shifting for the modern market.
What types of products does Hermès produce?
Some of the most popular products that Hermès produces today include perfumes, homeware and tableware accessories, scarves and throws, and the iconic Hermès handbags – with some of the most famous collections and names explored below.
What are Hermès’ most famous handbags?
We cannot talk about Hermès as a brand, or its history, without looking specifically at the Hermès Birkin and the Hermès Kelly collections.
The Kelly bag was actually first released in 1935 under the title ‘the Sac à dépêches bag’, however, this was renamed in the 1950s when Grace Kelly famously used the bag to shield herself from paparazzi. Ever since, the Kelly bag has been released in all manner of colours, sizes, and finishes – with a huge following worldwide.
The Birkin bag is another named after a famous face, this time the English-French actress Jane Birkin who was sat on a flight next to Hermès Chief Executive at the time, Jean-Louis Dumas and proceeded to outline everything she really needed from an everyday handbag. This inspired the designer, who went away and brought the Birkin bag to life – the bag is now Hermès most popular ever and one of the most coveted bags to ever hit the luxury market.
What makes Hermès so unique in the designer handbag market?
When Thierry Hermès first launched his riding saddles and harnesses all those decades ago, what separated him from the rest of the market was his attention to detail and the skill with which he used stitching as part of each bag’s aesthetic.
Today, that attention to detail and quality remains – with Hermès using only the finest leather and producing just a handful of bags every week thanks to the complexity and care that goes into the production of every single piece.
Which celebrities wear Hermès bags?
Hermès’ following is global and ever-growing, with the following celebrities being known fans of the brand:
- Victoria Beckham
- Kim Kardashian
- Heidi Klum
- Chrissy Teigen
And let’s not forget the two celebrities who we owe the Kelly and Birkin bags to – Grace Kelly and Jane Birkin.
Are Hermès handbags a good investment?
With the right authentication and a formal valuation to ensure that the quality and price of your Hermès handbag are all above board and correct, a Hermès handbag can be an exceptionally high-value investment. As is so often the case with a highly coveted luxury brand like Hermès, demand far outweighs supply – particularly in the case of this brand where the creative and manufacturing process is so detailed and long-winded.
As such, investing in a Hermès handbag, especially one of the in-demand Birkin or Kelly models, can be a great move – provided you can get your hands on one. For those seeking their own Hermès handbag, the preloved market is generally the best place to start your search, with our team at Love Luxury able to show you our own selection of bags and discuss the best investment for you.