FROM SADDLES TO SILK SCARVESOne of the peculiarities of the brand Hermès, founded in the nineteenth century by Thierry Hermès and now owned by the fifth generation of the Hermès family, lies in having managed to shift with extreme nonchalance from the world of horsemanship to the world of luxury.
Today considered one of the most exclusive fashion houses in the world, Hermès represents the Parisian air du temps, the world of cinema, of travel, of art and of timeless beauty. The silk carré (the colorful 90x90 scarf made with prints from famous artists and illustrators), the legendary Kelly and Birkin bags, the perfume Eau d' Hermès, the Cape Cod bracelet... All of these are part of the collectible legacy left by Hermès to the contemporary world.
THE EARLY DAYS OF HERMÈSThierry Hermès began his career as a small craftsman in Pont-Audemer, Normandy. In 1837 he moved to Paris to start his own company specializing in the production of harnesses, saddles and other riding equipment.
In the second half of the 19th century, the company was taken over by Emile-Maurice Hermès, Thierry’s grandchild, who expanded the brand’s repertoire and created the first product comparable to a bag: a container for equipment such as boots or saddles, very much appreciated by customers, who started using it also as suitcase.
However, it was only in the 1920s that Hermès really started to take an interest in fashion, laying the foundations for the company as we know it today. In 1929, designer Lola Prusac designed the first women’s fashion collection and also the first silk scarf, creating what will become a mainstay of the collection.
MONDRIAN BAG AND KELLY BAGIn the following decade, new activities and new creations launched the company in the Olympus of couture: it’s the years of the collar-like belts, of the bags tributing Piet Mondrian and, above all, of the saddle-inspired bag that Grace Kelly flaunts on the cover of Life to hide her pregnancy. The Hollywood star-come-Princess of Monaco, will later hold on to Hermès bag that will soon be reduced in volume, renamed, and known worldwide as Kelly Bag.
THE BIRKINIn 1981, Jean -Louis Dumas, back then head of the brand, met Jane Birkin on a Paris-London flight. Mother-of-two, Birkin started discussing with Dumas the difficulties for young mothers to find a bag that was elegant, spacious and at the same time practical (note that the actress was known to use a wicker basket instead of a handbag, and also, when she was still small enough, to slip her daughter Charlotte inside).
Dumas asked her to draw her ideal bag on a piece of paper. The rest is history: the drawing became the draft from which the iconic Birkin was born. The bag is still produced according to that original drwaing.
THE HERMÈS LOGO, IN MEMORY OF A DREAMER SADDLERToday Hermès has a complete range of products, from clothes to perfumes, although collectors, connoisseurs and lovers of fashion and vintage still mainly seek the timeless sophistication of its bags and scarves.
The logo of the brand features a horse-drawn carriage - in memory of the saddler-dreamer who went from horses to luxury.