Christophe Lemaire: The Era of Editions
After Gaultier and his fantastical runway creations came a return to subdued design in the hand of Christophe Lemaire. The French born designer took the creative helm of Hermès in 2010 after holding the position at Lacoste for a number of years, ushering in a new era for bag aficionados: The era of Limited Editions. Sure, limited runs of special designs were scattered throughout Gaultier’s time at Hermès, and special releases from the brand can be found dating back decades, like the 1989 red white and blue Kellys that celebrated the French Revolution’s bicentennial. But under Lemaire the idea of a ‘Limited Edition’ took its true form. From the outset Lemaire’s Hermès would produce seasonally updated editions of Birkins and Kellys for collectors to lust over.
Probably his best-known collection, one which set the stage for future limited editions, was the Candy Collection. Launched in Spring 2011, following the somber So Black collection that heralded Gaultier’s departure, the Candy Collection introduced us to a number of new colors, Kiwi, Lime, Blue Celeste, Rose Tyrien, and Blue Electric (aka Bleu Electrique), along with Etain and Tosca each with contrasting interiors.
This group was followed-up in Fall 2012 with a second edition of Candy Birkin and Kelly bags. The new colors for 2012 included Jaune d’Or, Rose Jaipur, Brique and Rouge Casaque. Each of these combinations was produced in Epsom leather, mainly as Birkin 35 bags, though Candy Birkins can be found in 30 and 25 size. Hermès Candy Kelly bags in 35, 32 and 28 in Retourne are also available. It is possible the second edition of Candy colors were only produced as Kelly 25 bags.
Gaultier’s design for a 15cm Micro Birkin and Kelly were adapted into Candy colors as well and today are extremely collectible.