Hermès Picnic Bag
The Hermès Life Sportif has always been central to the brand’s identity, and the ultimate activity of leisure and luxury is picnicking. Crafted from Osier Wicker, the Hermès Picnic Bag is the only bag that require two top-level craftspeople to create: a master saddler for the leather, and an expert basket weaver for the body, which reportedly takes around 10 hours to craft. Osier wicker items such as trays, thermoses and bottle holders have been produced in limited quantities for decades, though Jean-Paul Gaultier’s introduction of the Picnic Kelly 32 in 2011 forever changed the identity of this eternally summery material. The Picnic Kelly 35, which walked the runway and hit stores that same year, was unique for its stark departure from practicality. Objectively difficult as both a handbag and as a picnic basket, the Kelly Picnic was undoubtedly meant for show.
The success of this design was not immediately cemented in the collecting community as early examples selling at auction soon after their release averaged only about double retail. Special examples of the Hermès Kelly Picnic 35 were produced in following years for boutique openings with unique colored Swift leather instead of the classic Fauve Barenia. In July 2022, Jennifer Lopaz was spotted in Paris carrying the Kelly Picnic 35 in the classic Fauve Barenia. Pristine "store fresh" bags are selling for between $30,000-$50,000 at auction. The wide price range is driven in part by both the seasonality of this bag and varying demand from collectors. The size is also challenging to many top collectors in Asia that prefer smaller bags. While editorial coverage continues to focus on the rise of larger bags, most collectors are still mostly focused on mini bags.
Mini Kelly Picnic
This preceded the release of the diminutive edition which first appeared in the Resort 2019 runway show. Now produced in seven different colors (Fauve Barenia, and Swift in White, Jaune de Naples, Blue du Nord, Rouge de Coeur, Vert Verone, and introduced in 2021, Blue Brume) the 20cm Mini Picnic Kelly overtook its big sister from the start. The Blue Brume is the rarest color and hasn't been sold at auction yet.
With a retail price reportedly around $13,800 the Mini Kelly Picnic is a prime example of how Hermès bags can outpace all others on the secondary market. Since its auction debut in 2019, the Mini Picnic Kelly has averaged over 50% above its 35cm counterpart, with prices for the latter dropping by almost 50% between 2017 and 2020. A 35cm Picnic Kelly sold in November of last year for a mere $27,247 in a Hong Kong auction, the first time one of these highly collectible bags has sold for less than $30,000 since 2012, and the second lowest price ever paid at auction for a Picnic Kelly. Conversely, a record was set last year with Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction sale of a Vert Verone Mini Picnic Kelly for $105,332.
Hermès released the Birkin 25 Picnic in 2021. Secondary market pricing peaked at $148,000 in early 2022. As more bags became available on the resale market, the price declined from the peak but the secondary market prices are still more than 2x the retail price of $21,000. The Picnic Birkin 25 prices in 2023 ranged from $60,000-$70,000 range. A gold colored Picnic Birkin 25 with two tone osier wicker sold for nearly $70,000 in December 2023.