4 Hermès Bag Designs That Exemplify its Craftmanship

4 Hermès Bag Designs That Exemplify its Craftmanship

Learn more about limited-edition and rare Hermès Birkin, Kelly and Constance bags
Learn more about limited-edition and rare Hermès Birkin, Kelly and Constance bags

T he level of craftsmanship that goes into a Hermès bag is unsurpassed and so whenever the maison creates a limited-edition piece that showcases another aspect of its craft, it’s no wonder that collectors are keen to get their hands on it. And the skill of the artisans is on full display in a collection of rare Hermès creations in Sotheby’s The Hong Kong Sales Handbags & Accessories (28 March–10 April).

The Hermès Himalaya

The Hermès Himalaya design, where Niloticus crocodile skin is coloured in a way to depict snow capping the peaks of the Himalaya mountains, has garnered iconic status within the Hermès world. And while the spotlight is often on a Himalaya Kelly or Himalaya Birkin, it is in fact the Himalaya Constance that is a rarer find.

A highlight of Handbags & Accessories this season is a Himalaya Constance 24 with palladium hardware. Crafted in 2023, the bag is of the newer version produced by the maison, where the interior of the bag features a mirror and has a slimmer body. While the Hermès Constance is a streamlined design that doesn’t have the hallmark flap and straps of a Birkin or Kelly, that doesn’t mean it is easier to construct as it can take an artisan up to 18 hours to craft the bag into its signature “soap” shape using hot ironing techniques.

The sale also includes a Himalaya Kelly 25 Retourne, made even more special with a 18K white gold clasp and lock encrusted with diamonds. Only the most experienced artisans in the maison get to work on the diamond and white gold elements, while the handle itself takes more than two hours just to assemble, featuring four layers of leather that have been saddle stitched.

The Hermès Midas Kelly

In addition to the Himalaya Kelly, Handbags & Accessories includes other limited edition Kelly creations, such as a Midas Kelly 25 Sellier in black box calfskin. The Midas in the name refers to the Greek mythological figure King Midas, who can turn everything into gold by touching it. Drawing inspiration from the myth, the Midas Kelly design features a unique hardware pairing leather with solid 18K yellow gold weighing 183.18g. It is as if Midas himself had touched the Kelly handle and turned it into gold. The remarkable fusion of leather and gold requires a meticulous assembly ensuring the metal follows the leather to precision.

Over the years, Hermès has developed many ways to treat leather for its designs but there are certain types of leather that have a special place in the heritage of the brand and black box calfskin is one of them. Every artisan starting out at Hermès begins their training by constructing a Kelly Sellier in black box calfskin and it is said that if an artisan can put together a flawless version of that bag, then that artisan is skilled enough to tackle every other design in the Hermès family.

Hermès Mini Kelly

Gold isn’t the only metal to shine in the sale. There is also a Clouté Studded Mini Kelly II 20, using palladium for the hardware and studs, with the carefully placed studs adding a rock-and-roll element to the classic bag.

The maison’s much loved Picnic bags are also represented with the Mini Picnic Kelly II 20 with palladium hardware and Swift leather in Bleu Brume, a pastel blue shade. Each Picnic bag is made from Osier Wicker and is the only design in the Hermès portfolio that requires two experts to work on it — one for the leather and one for the wicker body.

The Faubourg Tropical

Octave Marsal and Théo de Gueltzl created the Faubourg Tropical pattern, where the maison’s iconic flagship store on 24 Rue de Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris is covered in tropical foliage, within which jungle animals such as monkeys, cheetahs and cockatoos also hide. The Faubourg Tropical Birkin 35, featuring palladium hardware and the pattern embroidered on Toile de Camp fabric is a rare find indeed. The delicate embroidery is done using a French technique known as Luneville, a process that can take up to 18 hours to complete, and the pattern extends on to the white Swift leather flap as well, showcasing the skill it takes to convey it across two different materials.

The Hermès Constance

Handbags & Accessories this season also includes a tri-colour Mini Constance 18, another rare find that may very well steal some of the spotlight away from the Himalaya Constance. The Mini Constance features a flap in Cassis, a regal purple hue, that is paired with a deep blue known as Bleu Baltique for the body, all in shiny alligator leather. What makes it even more special is the marquetry technique used to apply gold shiny alligator leather onto the H clasp, resulting in a bag that may be small but packs a punch.

Handbags and Accessories The Hong Kong Sales

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