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Jewelry

The Enduring Style of Hermès

By Harriet Quick
In our era of fast consumption and brand overload, Hermès stands the test of time. The savoir-faire of the maison founded in Paris by Thierry Hermès as a saddlery maker for French noblemen in 1837 is unparalled.

T he Birkin and Kelly bag remain icons – these are handbags designed with beauty and utility in mind fashioned in the finest leathers, hand-stitched, lined and finished with metal hardware. There’s an infinite variety as the house continues to offer bespoke services and rare one off variations. Since the 1950s, the Duc carriage with a horse has remained the iconic logo.

In the forthcoming specialist auction, Sotheby’s is presenting 25 lots with a focus on the iconic Kelly and Birkin handbags. The subtle nuances of colour and hardware create an extraordinary collection. The standout is an exceptional amethyst purple crocodile 35 Birkin (2008) with a surface that gleams like a gem and subtly toned palladium hardware. It is a rare collectors piece and in mint condition.

For lovers of characterful ostrich leather, a lively red Birkin 30 (2016) with gold hardware will prove a real draw while a Birkin 35 (2011) is perfectly primed for Spring outings in its fresh pea green togo leather. To note, is a custom made electric blue and red Kelly 32 (2013) which is as bright and bold as a flag.

This season, fashion with a new found taste for sartorial serenity has turned to embrace all shades of beige. At Hermès, those calming tones have always been a forte. Find a perfect Kelly 35 (2017) in the house’s famous ‘etoupe’ shade – a warm hue that can lean towards the grey or brown – and compliments everything you might be wearing alongside a Birkin 35 in a natural sable colour (2008) and the adorable Evelyne bucket bag (2018) with a rainbow canvas strap.

There’s a rare tri colour Kelly 32 in gold brown and ebony leather (1990) and for the gentleman, a ‘sac a depeches’ (1990) briefcase with gold hardware. For classicists, there is a Kelly 28 (2000) in ivory calf box leather that would be as treasured in one’s wardrobe as a bespoke tuxedo.

A Kelly or a Birkin is a rite of passage in a woman’s life - each piece is handmade in the atelier by exceptionally skilled craftsmen using the finest, sustainably sourced leathers. The pleasure passes from owner to owner.

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