The 6 Hermès Bags Everyone Needs in their Collection

The 6 Hermès Bags Everyone Needs in their Collection

Learn More about the Most Popular Hermès Bags
Learn More about the Most Popular Hermès Bags

Brief History of Hermès Bags

The Hermès brand was born in 1837 when Thierry Hermès founded a harness workshop in Paris. The company’s mission was to create equestrian leather goods for European nobles. In 1900, Hermès introduced its first bag to consumers: the Haut à Courroies (aka the HAC). This Hermès bag was designed specifically to carry riders’ saddles. In the 1920s, Hermès grew to include accessories, clothing, handbags, and travel bags. In 1935, the Hermès Kelly – then called the Sac à Dépchêches – was introduced, followed by the Hermès Constance in 1959, and the Birkin in 1984. Hermès remains the leading luxury bag brand with demand continuing to outpace supply year after year. While Hermès makes many styles, six always top the most popular list with Sotheby's collectors.

Hermès Birkin Himalaya

1 | The Hermès Birkin

The most coveted Hermès bag is the iconic Birkin bag. Named after actress and “it girl” Jane Birkin, this timeless Hermès bag comes in many color ways, materials, and sizes. The Birkin was conceived by the actress and Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas on an Air France flight where Jane urged him to create a Hermès bag with greater functionality. The four most popular sizes of Birkin are the Birkin 25, Birkin 30, Birkin 35, and Birkin 40 (the original size). Even at its smallest, the Birkin 25 can fit all your necessities including phone, wallet, sunglasses, and keys. The Birkin has been a highly coveted bag since the late 1980s, thanks to its timeless design, popularity among A-listers, and limited availability. Hermès stores are only allowed to buy a select number of Birkin bags bi-annually and the styles of Birkin are rarely known before their delivery to the boutique. As a result, buying a Birkin in a specific color/material/hardware combination requires considerable time, patience, and flexibility. Secondary markets are disrupting this process by making it easier to buy and sell a Birkin bag. While the price of a Birkin varies depending on a number of factors, a pristine condition bag will most likely be priced at a premium compared to the Hermès boutique price. If you love Hermès bags, almost every collection has at least one Birkin. While the Himalaya Birkin is the ultimate Hermès bag, most collectors start out with a Togo leather bag in black, etoupe or gold in size Birkin 25 or Birkin 30.

Hermès Kelly Black Alligator

2 | The Hermès Kelly Bag

The oldest and most classic Hermès bag is the Kelly bag. Frequently described as the Birkin’s older sister and was originally named Sac-à-Dépêches. The Hermès Kelly bag was a favorite of actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly, who used it to hide her pregnancy from paparazzi. The Princess of Monaco is credited with popularizing this particular Hermès bag, so much so that it was officially renamed for her in 1977. The Hermès Kelly bag comes in two styles: Kelly Sellier and Kelly Retourne. The differences are the stitching and the edges: a Kelly Sellier has visible stitching and a pointy edge, while the stitching on the Hermès Kelly Retourne is not visible and its edges are soft. A Sellier Kelly bag is a more structured, rigid bag thanks to the hard leathers artisans use to craft this Hermès bag. A Retourne Kelly bag is created using softer leathers, giving it a more casual look, and allowing it to fit slightly more than a Sellier. The most popular Mini Kelly 20 is only available inthe most structured Sellier but the other classic Kelly bags from Kelly 25 and bigger are available in both Sellier and Retourne. The most classic Kelly bag is black with gold hardware in size 28 and in Box leather. 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. A vintage Black Kelly Sellier bag in box leather is at the top of many collectors wish list since each bag has a unique patina that develops over time.

Hermès Mini Constance 18 Ombré Shiny Salvator Lizard

3 | The Hermès Constance Bag

The Hermès Constance is a versatile bag worn comfortably over the shoulder and secured with the simple and functional “H” clasp. This Hermès bag’s designer, Catherine Chaillet, was pregnant while designing the bag and eventually named it after her daughter, Constance. Chaillet’s design includes a strap that can be adjusted to make the bag hang long or short. In addition to the standard Constance 24, the Hermès Constance comes in mini and micro models as well as a rectangular model called the “Elan.” The Hermès Constance micro contains only one interior compartment, but buyers of other sizes have the option of a single or double interior compartment. Jackie Kennedy’s go-to, this youthful yet sophisticated Hermès Constance can be worn casually during the day or for an evening out. Like the Birkin and Kelly, the Hermès Constance comes in many material and hardware combinations. While the popularity of the Hermès Constance isn't at the same level as the Birkin or Kelly bag, it is a classic for the Hermès bag collector. The Hermès Constance 18 or Mini Constance is the most popular size and most collectors start with a leather bag epsom leather in a neutral or pastel color.

Hermès Evelyne TPM Orange H Clemence

4 | The Hermès Evelyne

Like many other Hermès bags, the Evelyne bag is inspired by Hermès’ equestrian roots. The Hermès Evelyne bag has perforations that form a “H” on one side, which hint at the bag’s original function: to transport horse grooming equipment. These perforations allow air to circulate the bag, drying wet combs, brushes, and picks. The ventilated side of the Hermès Evelyne was meant to be worn against the equestrian’s body; however, today the perforations are worn facing outwards. This Hermès bag is highly functional and sporty. The Hermès Evelyne comes in four generations: Generation I, Generation II, Generation III, and the Evelyne Sellier. Generation I does not have an adjustable strap or an exterior pocket. Generation II also lacks the adjustable strap, but has an exterior pocket. Generation III has both an adjustable strap and an exterior pocket, making it the most functional Hermès Evelyne. The Sellier is the Evelyne reimagined: the perforations have been removed and replaced with a diamond-shape “H” printed on the front of the bag. The Generation III and the Sellier are the only two models still being produced. This Hermès Evelyne comes in four sizes: Evelyne 16 (formerly TPM), Evelyne 29 (formerly PM), Evelyne 33 (GM), Evelyne 40 (formerly TGM). The functionality of this Hermès Evelyne makes it well suited for travel or for use as a casual day Hermès bag. The Evelyne 16 or Everlyne TPM is the most popular size with collectors. The Hermès Evelyne bag is one of the least expensive and most casual bags and appropriately this is often owned by collectors in many colors. It is often the first Hermès bag purchased by young collectors due to its price and availability in boutiques.

Hermès Picotin 18

5 | The Hermès Picotin Bag

Hermès references its origins with the Picotin, whose name is the French word for the measure of feed given to a horse. The Hermès Picotin is a popular style thanks to its minimalist, functional design, inspired by horse feed bags. The wide, round shape of the bucket bag allows you to fit all your necessities with ease, and the lock closure provides a sophisticated accent. This Hermès Picotin comes in soft, grained leather that gives the bag a timeless look or in canvas with leather accents, providing a sportier feel. The Hermès Picotin leather comes in a variety of colors with either palladium or gold hardware. The Hermès Picotin is perfect for someone who needs a casual, simple Hermès bag for an on-the-go lifestyle. Many Hermès bag collections start with the more readily available Picotin or Evelyne. The accessible prices and casual style make them great bags for every day wear and introduction to Hermès leather and quality craftmenship.

Hermès Lindy 20 Bleu Brume Swift

6 | The Hermès Lindy Bag

Named after the Lindy Hop, a famous American dance from the 1920s, the Hermès Lindy was designed for comfort and movement. The perpendicular handles allow it to sit naturally on the wearer while the optional shoulder strap makes it more versatile. The handle positioning causes the center of the bag to droop. The Hermès Lindy has two exterior pockets positioned on either end and two zip closures sit on top. The Hermès Lindy is secured by a clou de selle touret lock closure. The Hermès Lindy comes in a few sizes: Lindy Mini, Lindy 26, Lindy 30, Lindy 34, and Lindy 45. The Lindy’s folded, relaxed style is suitable for someone who is on-the-go, whose fast-paced life requires a bag that can keep up. The Mini Lindy is the most popular size and collectors tend to want this Hermès bag in a pastel or neutral color.

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