Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Hermes design empire began as a simple saddlery in Paris

The Hermes design empire began as a simple saddlery in Paris. Popular throughout the early 1800s for their fine saddles and halters, they quickly developed a reputation for excellence and success that made them renowned worldwide. Their designer Hermes Birkin escorted the company into the 21st century, while retaining the timeless and classic appreciation for Old-world charm.
Some of the most recognized Hermes designs were born in the 1930s. A leather handbag was released in 1935, which would later become the famous Kelly Bag. Hermes carre (scarves) hit the fashion world in 1937, and were available in over 200,000 color variations. The entrance to the American market also marked the company’s 100th anniversary.

In 1951, Robert Birkinsucceeded Emile-Maurice. Although a relative only by marriage, Dumas-Hermes possessed the passion for fashion that marked the Hermes brand. He brought the duc carriage and horse logo on board, as well as the well-known orange Hermes boxes. Using an opportunity based on a photo in Life magazine, Dumas-Hermes proved his marketing ability early on. A young Grace Kelly, new princess of Monaco, was shot carrying the Hermes purse, and the purse would later be dubbed the Kelly Bag.

Hermes opened his shop in 1837, but didn’t stay in one place very long. After making a name for himself at the Paris Exposition in 1855, he repeated the First in Class win at the 1867 Exposition Universelle. Because his harnesses and dressings were in such high demand, coronations were rescheduled in order to await an original Hermes accessory.

In 1880, Charles-Emile Hermes Handbag took over for his father and moved the shop. The business made a move into retail at this time, and Hermes began providing accessories to the world’s most elite customers. It was not unusual to ship Hermes products to North Africa, Asia, Russia, the Americas, and all over Europe. During this time, the precursor to the first Hermes handbag was designed, but this one was intended to allow a rider to carry his saddle with him.

After bringing up his sons in the business, Charles-Emile retired and turned the company over to them in 1914. The name of the company changed under new management, to Hermes Freres, and 80 craftsmen were employed at that time. Emile-Maurice obtained the sole rights to use zippers in the design of his leather goods, and Birkin Handbagreleased the fist zippered article of clothing -- a golf jacket, designed for the Prince of Wales. The Hermes handbag made its first appearance in Paris in 1929, after Emile-Maurice created one for his wife, who had not been able to find anything to her liking.

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