Discreet yet experimental
The Hermès brand was born from a desire to create products of the very highest quality. This ethos has been carefully maintained by the incredibly talented, dynamic and innovative creators entrusted to grow the house. Among them, Martin Margiela (1997-2003), who opted for an extremely simple aesthetic; trouser suits, long dresses and overcoats incorporating wool, cashmere and cotton of exceptional quality, in neutrals such as beige, white and navy blue. Luxury lost its ostentatious element, giving way to sleek minimalism; the modern mark of French chic.
After the departure of Margiela, Jean-Paul Gaultier chose to explore the idea of travel and cultural exploration, injecting a sense of innovation and daring. Currently at the Hermès helm are Gaultier’s successors, Christophe Lemaire and Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski. Their graceful collections blend clever colour blocking and beautiful materials, ensuring that luxurious look without pretension or superfluity.
Luxury as a way of life
Over the years, Hermès has expanded beyond the world of fashion to become a luxury lifestyle brand, imbued with sophistication. Even at its origin as an equestrian accessories retailer, the brand committed itself to only using exceptional materials and the very best craftsman to produce its handmade saddles, boots and bags – a commitment that has remained unchanged.
Over the first half of the 21st century, the house developed ready-to-wear collections alongside other ranges that included watches, jewellery and homeware. The creation of the famous carré in 1937, a 90cm square silk scarf, has become a real status symbol and an international mark of the luxury lifestyle Hermès has defined. Reissued every season and incorporating different colours and patterns as part of an infinite variety of themes, from horse racing to travelling to hunting scenes.
Inventor of the ‘it’ bag
Hermès know better than any other brand, almost unintentionally, how to design accessories with a lasting legacy. The Kelly was first created in 1892, the “Haut à Courroies” as it was originally known, was then reinvented and renamed over 60 years later after the Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, was photographed using it to hide her baby bump. The bag’s popularity exploded as a result, establishing the world’s first it bag, and the house decided to rename it in honour of the princess. The Kelly has since been made available in a rainbow of colours and types of leather, from black box calf to blue crocodile skin.
The brand’s second iconic creation is the Birkin bag, which was inspired by a conversation between Jane Birkin and Jean-Louis Dumas (the then Chairman of Hermès), with Jane explaining that she couldn't find a handbag that was both elegant and big enough to carry all her daughter’s things in. Though similar to the Kelly, it is larger, made with softer leather and features two handles rather than the Kelly’s one. It is now one of the most sought after bags in the world, alongside the Kelly and the Constance. Hermès handbags have become the ultimate luxury accessory and a true investment piece – snapped up by collectors, their value only increases over time.