Handbags and Accessories

Complete History of the Hermès Bolide

By Lindsey Weiss
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Hermès Bolide on Wheels

History of Hermès Bolide

In 1916, Emile-Maurice Hermès, grandson of Thierry Hermès, founder of the fashion house, traveled from France to North America. Emile-Maurice paid a visit to Henry Ford’s automobile factory. It was here that Emile-Maurice would be introduced to a new mechanism: the zipper. In 1923, Hermès filed a patent for the zipper to be utilized in the production of leather goods. The Hermès Bolide became the first handbag with a zipper closure. Initially named, “le sac pour l'auto,". The Hermès Bolide bag was later affectionately renamed, Bolide, a 16th century word for a comet, and an homage to the newly booming sports car industry. The 20th century saw a surge in demand for travel accessories, and Hermès delivered; driving gloves, racing scarves, custom luggage trunks, leather wallets designed specifically for roadmaps, and more. The Hermès Bolide was designed to be the optimal travel bag, perfect for transcontinental trips.

Hermès Bolide

Hermès Bolide Variations

The dome shaped carry-all Hermès Bolide features a removable shoulder strap, a single zipper closure, an oval patch on the exterior to be monogrammed at your discretion, and a spacious interior. The Hermès Bolide comes in two different styles: Mou and Rigide. The Mou style is known for its relaxed, more casual appearance due to the use of soft leather. In contrast, the Rigide style is known for its solid feel and upright shape.

The most common leathers the Hermès Bolide is offered in are Clemence, Epsom, and Sikkim. Clemence is one of Hermés’ most popular leathers; with a matte finish, flat-grained and resistant to scratches, soft and heavy. Epsom leather, an embossed-calfskin, though less soft and more light weight when compared to Clemence, is still highly durable and easily cared for. Sikkim is a buttery soft leather with a very minimal or no grain. It is thin and lightweight which makes it perfect to achieve the Mou style effect. The Hermès Bolide also comes in exotic materials such as alligator and crocodile, and can sometimes be found with mixed materials such as leather trim and pony hair or Toile.

Hermès Bolide

Hermès Bolide Sizes

The Hermès Bolide comes in two basic variations. The original Hermès Bolide comes in four sizes, Bolide 27, Bolide 31 Bolide 35 and the largest travel size Bolide 45. The newest Hermès Bolide called the Hermès Bolide1923 comes in Hermès Bolide Mini, Hermès Bolide 25 and Hermès Bolide 30. The original Bolide has an oval exterior patch that was meant to be monogrammed while the Hermès Bolide1923 does not have an oval exterior patch. The Hermès Bolide also comes with a lock and keys except the smallest Hermès Mini Bolide.

Hermès Bolide Mini

Hermès Bolide Mini

Hermès Mini Bolide was first introduced around 2011 and is the most popular size due to growing popularity of mini bags. In addition to it's small size, the Hermès Bolide mini does not come with a lock and keys but has a removeable strap.

Hermès Bolide 30

Limited Edition Hermès Bolide

Hermès regularly creates playful limited edition Bolide bags. The Hermès Bolide Smile comes in the 1923 style without the exterior oval patch. Is was created in 2020 and is enhanced by a gold 'Eye of Cleopatra' with a shiny niloticus lizard inlay where the magnify glass normally resides. It also possesses a 'Mors de Bride' chain and bar with an additional key, that pairs with the lock provided, hanging at the end of the chain. Limited edition Hermès Bolide styles are available for both men and women.

Hermès Bolide

Newest Hermès Bolide

Hermès first released the Bolide On Wheels in 2022. It's whimsical design with luggage style wheels is nod to its history as a travel bag. The Bolide On Wheels retails for $15,900 and is selling on the secondary market for about $25,000 for a store fresh version. In 2023, Hermès introduced a new Bolide called he 1923 Bolide 25 en Desordre. It has a an exterior pocket and the oval exterior patch has been relocated to the bottom and is angled.

Hermès 1923 Bolide

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