Handbags & Accessories

Étoupe, A Must Have Neutral for the Hermès Bag Collector

By Lindsey Weiss
Shop Hermès Bags and Accessories , Available for Immediate Purchase
Hermès Etoupe Kelly Sellier
Hermès Kelly Sellier Etoupe

Etoupe, A Must Have Neutral

Much has been said recently about the dominance of Etoupe among other Hermès greys. A shade that deftly straddles grey and brown, Etoupe is the most common grey on the secondary market, comprising around 2% of all Hermès bags sold at auction. In production since at least 2004, Etoupe has become part of the permanent collection of Hermès colors, along with Black, Gold, White and Rouge H. While the value of Etoupe bags at auction have remained below those of Etain, Etoupe has made steady increases of around 4% year over year.

Hermès Kelly Bags in Etoupe

The Color of Etoupe

Greige is a term often used to describe Etoupe. It is simultaneously grey and brown, the perfect neutral for any occasion and highly desired by most collectors. Most Etoupe bags are distinct for their white stitching, which contrasts the color of the leather and accentuates the skilled craftsmanship necessary to create an Hermès bag. The tone of an Etoupe bag is wholly reliant on its hardware. With gold hardware, Etoupe is warm and rich, with palladium it turns soft, yet steely. Different leathers can affect the color of Etoupe as well. Generally darkest on Clemence and lightest on Swift, Etoupe has yet to be produced as any exotic.

The Future of Etoupe

Hermès Etoupe Birkins

When Hermès released the new 25cm Shadow Birkin, one version was done in Etoupe, which signaled the shade’s continuing popularity. The new 20cm Mini Kelly II has also been produced in Etoupe, as has the new Sellier Birkin, which displays more of the color’s famous contrast-stitching than any Retourne Birkin ever could. Etoupe Togo Birkin and Kelly 25 bags are equal in popularity to Gold, commanding higher prices on the secondary market than almost any other color. Since Etoupe has been around for nearly two decades, examples of bags can be found in all sizes and many styles. Togo is the most common leather for Etoupe, making up 48% of the auction market for the color. Clemence accounts for nearly a third, and Epsom around 13%. Other leathers such as Tadelakt, Swift, Novillo and Chevre are rare finds in Etoupe.

A Touch of Gray

Hermès Birkin Bags

While Hermès may only have a handful of grey shades in their oeuvre, there are a few hues that make their way towards grey and have become especially sought-after for their multifaceted natures. Blue Orage, introduced in 2013, evokes the tension of a storm, combining blue and grey in a way that presents both on equal terms. Blue Glacier is a pale steely grey/blue introduced in 2015. This soft grey takes its inspiration from icy glaciers and the crisp, cold air above them. Vert Amand is the latest favorite grey among dedicated Hermes collectors. Released just recently in 2019, Amande, which gets its name from the color of fresh Almonds, effortlessly blends green and grey into a refreshing new neutral. This shade has proven itself among the most valuable colors on the Hermès secondary market. A new shade, Gris Meyer, has just recently been released. Compared to the dark clouds in a sky portending storm, Gris Meyer is proving to be a favorite new neutral.

Available for Immediate Purchase

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

More from Sotheby's