Hermès – the story of a luxury brand

From leather horse harnesses to iconic perfumes and handbags

Hermès is synonymous with luxury. An exclusive brand recognized around the world for its elegance, attention to details and impeccable quality. A fashion house for which the test of time brought even more prestige and celebrity. But how did Hermès managed to stay on top of the luxury brands for almost 200 years? To answer this question it’s enough to know the story and, even more, the key moments in the history of the house of Hermès.

  1. Hermès was launched in 1837 by Thierry Hermès: he opened a small luxury harness shop in Paris. That’s why, the Hermès logo is a royal carriage and a horse.
  2. In 1880, when Charles-Émile Hermès (Thierry’s son) took over the brand, he moved the store to the famous Parisian street Faubourg Saint-Honoré, at number 24. And it’s there since then.
  3. Together with his two sons (Adolphe and Émile-Maurice), Charles-Émile managed to make the brand well-known in Europe, Asia, United States of America and North Africa.
  4. In 1900, Hermès launched the first bag: it was called Haut à Courroies. True, it was for the riders to carry their saddles with them.
  5. 20 years later, Émile-Maurice introduced the first Hermès accessory line, and in 1922, he created a different kind of a leather bag. How did this idea pop up? Well, it was after a discussion with his wife, who complained she couldn’t find a bag to her liking.
  6. After ten more years, the brand launches the Sac à dépêches bag, which was later renamed Kelly. It all started with a photo of Grace Kelly who was using her Sac à dépêches bag to shield herself from a scrum of paparazzi. The image became famous all around the world.
  7. In 1951, Jean-Louis Dumas (great-great-grandson of Thierry) took over the business. He was the one that paid a special attention to silk and leather products and revamped the ready-to-wear line. Dumas was the one who hired Martin Margiela in 1997 and then Jean-Paul Gaultier in 2003.
  8. The first Hermès fragrance was released also in 1951 – Eau d’Hermès, a unisex perfume with leather, citrus, spicy and floral notes. Ten years later, Hermès introduces its first eau de toilette for women, Calèche, whose name is inspired by the horse carriages from the brand logo. It contains ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine and woody notes.
  9. Still, the most famous Hermès bag remains, however, Birkin. And yes, it has a story too. In 1981, Jean-Louis Dumas met Jane Birkin on a plane. The actress told him she couldn’t find a bag large enough for everyday use. So Dumas created one and named it Birkin.
  10. The price of a Birkin bag starts for 10 000 euro and can easily jump to over 100 000 euro, especially if it is made from exotic leather. If you want one, you must have to know that there is a long waiting list.

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