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Article: The History Of The Hermès Kelly Bag

The Hermès Kelly Bag in pink

The History Of The Hermès Kelly Bag

The Hermès Kelly bag has become a staple classically. It's widely considered to be the mum of all "It" bags, thanks to its significant history and luxurious design. For a comprehensive view of 20th-century fashion, one simply cannot ignore the influence of this iconic purse.

The First Hermès Bag

In 1892, the atelier of Hermès released their 'Haut à courroies' bag, which was designed to transport tack, riding boots, and other equestrian accessories. This distinctive style provided the foundation for what would later become known as the Kelly and Birkin bags. Key design elements like the leather straps, metal plaque and touret buckle remain unchanged today. The Haut à courroies was thus a defining moment in Hermès bag history that helped shape contemporary designs and styles.

The Sac à Dépêches

With its unique trapezoid shape and rigid structure, the Sac à Dépêches quickly gained popularity in 1928 with men and women alike. The handbag was one of the first of its kind and was a fashionable choice for stylish women across the globe. It wasn't until Hollywood stepped in during the Golden Age that it became an iconic accessory beyond a small circle of people, including celebrities and businessmen who insisted upon style and substance.

The Sac à Dépêches Meets Grace Kelly

The Kelly bag has a fascinating history. Its roots can be traced back to the Alfred Hitchcock movie To Catch a Thief in 1955, where costume designer Edith Head chose the Sac à Dépêches as part of Grace Kelly's character's wardrobe. The famous actress and fashion icon liked the bag so much that she wouldn't give it up at the end of filming! When Princess Grace married Prince Ranier III two years later, she was pregnant and often found herself in front of photographers; conveniently, her trusty Sac à Dépêches helped hide her growing baby bump from prying eyes. A photograph featuring this soon-to-be iconic bag on the cover of Life Magazine propelled sales to an all-time high. Following its cultural success, Hermès eventually renamed this piece: The Kelly Bag. In 1977, it had become an official cultural touchstone!

What Is a Kelly Bag?

Hermès has been producing the iconic Sac à Dépêches, now known as the Kelly bag, for over eighty years. Each edition is crafted with sophistication and attention to detail, precisely by hand. Thirty-six pieces of leather and 680 saddle stitches are used in order to produce this functional artwork. It is available in eight sizes ranging from 15 cm to 50 cm and is cherished by high-profile dignitaries, influential executives and stylish women around the world. The Kelly bag is an essence of supreme luxury that you won't want to miss out on.

Hermès Kelly Bag History Continues

The iconic Kelly bag by Hermès has been a staple in the fashion world since it was first redesigned and named in 1956. Over the decades, Hermès has managed to both stay true to the original design of the bag while also introducing updates that keep pace with modern trends and sensibilities. Its most recent innovation is a detachable shoulder strap added in 1985, making it easier for contemporary women to be fashionable and practical all at once. Additionally, there are two different types of Kelly bags on offer: Sellier and Retourne. The Sellier is characterized by sharp lines and exposed top-stitching along its seams; conversely, the Retourne is softer and features internal seams which give it a more relaxed look. Whether you decide to go for the classic structure or slouchy silhouette of this timeless design, make sure you get yourself a Kelly bag today!

Limited Edition Kelly Bags

The Hermès Kelly bag is a highly sought-after item in the luxury handbag market. Throughout its history, Hermès has released several Limited Edition bags that have attracted attention for their beauty and exclusivity. These bags remain popular today.

The Kelly Doll

The Kelly Doll, originally named the "Quelle Idole," is one of the cutest styles of Hermès' iconic Kelly bag. Released in 2000 and available in eight colours, this whimsical piece was an instant hit! Unfortunately, it retired in 2005 due to production constraints. However, collectors didn't have to wait long for another chance; several limited editions were released in 2008 with a range of colourful patterns. The doll quickly placed itself as an essential part of the Kelly Bag's history before retiring once again in 2010. Nowadays, this highly-coveted item can only be obtained via custom orders giving the piece a Horseshoe stamp on its front. Another well-known style is the Osier Wicker Picnic Kelly which came out during Spring/Summer 2011 - blending both elegance and rusticity by combining classic wicker picnic basket shapes with leather trims around the handle, flap and external strap.

How to Buy a Kelly Bag

The Hermès Kelly bag is a timeless classic, renowned for its beauty and quality. But there's another factor that drives demand: scarcity. Hermès manufactures only a limited number of bags each year, making them highly desirable to collectors all over the world. Those who have been cultivating a relationship with an Hermès boutique can often get their hands on one - if they're willing to spend five figures doing so!
However, here at Fashion & Co, we offer an alternative path to owning a Kelly bag without going through such intense means. We specialize in providing our customers with store-fresh, never-worn or vintage bags available for immediate delivery. So if you've been dreaming of owning your own Kelly bag, simply shop Fashion & Co today!

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