Handbags & Accessories

The Hermès Bolide Bag: The Original Travel Bag

By Lindsey Weiss
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Hermès Bolide 40 Monster Shark

Hermès Bolide Inspiration From an Unlikely Source

In 1916, Emile-Maurice Hermès, grandson of Thierry Hermès, founder of the fashion house, traveled from France to North America. Emile-Maurice paid a visit to Henry Ford’s automobile factory. It was here that Emile-Maurice would be introduced to a new mechanism: the zipper. In 1923, Hermès filed a patent for the zipper to be utilized in the production of leather goods. The Hermès Bolide became the first handbag with a zipper closure.

Initially named, “le sac pour l'auto," the Hermès bag was later affectionately renamed, Bolide, a 16th century word for a comet, and an homage to the newly booming sports car industry. The 20th century saw a surge in demand for travel accessories, and Hermès delivered; driving gloves, racing scarves, custom luggage trunks, leather wallets designed specifically for roadmaps, and more. The Hermès Bolide bag was designed to be the optimal travel bag, perfect for transcontinental trips.

Hermès Bolide Mini

Hermès Bolide Features and Details

The dome shaped carry-all Hermès Bolide features a removable shoulder strap, a single zipper closure, an oval patch on the exterior to be monogrammed at your discretion, and a spacious interior. The Hermès Bolide Bag comes in two different styles: Mou and Rigide. The Mou style is known for its relaxed, more casual appearance due to the use of soft leather. In contrast, the Rigide style is known for its solid feel and upright shape.

Hermès Bolide Bag

Hermès Bolide Materials, Bolide Sizes, and Bold Colors

The most common leathers the Hermès Bolide is offered in are Clemence, Epsom, and Sikkim. Clemence is one of Hermés’ most popular leathers; with a matte finish, flat-grained and resistant to scratches, soft and heavy. Epsom leather, an embossed-calfskin, though less soft and more light weight when compared to Clemence, is still highly durable and easily cared for. Sikkim is a buttery soft leather with a very minimal or no grain. It is thin and lightweight which makes it perfect to achieve the Mou style effect. The Bolide also comes in exotic materials such as alligator and crocodile, and can sometimes be found with mixed materials such as leather trim and pony hair or Toile. This Hermès gem is offered in an array of iconic Hermès colors and comes in four sizes: 27cm, 31cm, 35cm, and 45cm: the optimal travel size.

Hermes Bolide Bag White Vache Hunter and Navy Toile Jean Bolide Paddock 35 Palladium Hardware, 2016

Hermès Bolide Secret

In 2015 the Hermès Bolide Secret handbag was previewed in the Hermès Fall Winter 2015 Collection. This version features an extra external pocket and a separate compartment at the bottom of the bag with a double zipper closure. The compartment was created with organization and security in mind, to store valuable items such as passports and jewelry.

Hermès Bolide Bag

Hermès Bolide Special Editions

The Hermès Bolide bag is perhaps one of Hermès’ most creatively experimented with. From playful designs such as the Shark Monster Bolide and the 1923 Baseball Bolide 45, to the Elegant Epsom Sunrise Hermès Bolide, and the sought after Barénia Osier woven rattan Bolide 25.

Hermès Bolide Bag
Hermès Bolide bag

The Bolide 1923 Chimeres Dragon bag features a suede-like dragon across the front. Hermès used a tufting technique which calls for embroidery to be done directly onto the leather. Another special Hermès Bolide bag is the Au Bout Du Monde Bolide 1923. This variation features Swift, Box, Alligator, Lizard, Sombrero and Chèvre leather, in a combination of Blue Encre, Zellige, Bleu de Malte, Bleu Nuit, Vert Cypress, and Noir.

Hermès Bolide Bag

Hermès Bolide Bag Update

For their 2022 Spring/Summer collection, Hermès launched the Tricolor Bolide 1923. This variation features three contrasting colors on the body, leather zipper, clochette, and zipper’s leather trim. Keep an eye out for the perfect warm weather accessory!

Hermès Bolide Bag

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