A mythological name – Hermes, son of Zeus, messenger of the gods – and a beginning born in a stable!
It seems truly incredible that from this unusual mix came Hermes , one of the most solid, complete, successful and luxury companies in the world. Because today this name is associated with high fashion, but also with classy perfumery and jewelry.
Hermes goes through two centuries of history and dozens of products . He has written the history of fashion of the past and continues to do so with the innovative ideas of the present. Because everything can be said except that a bag, a dress, a jewel, a Hermes perfume, are not immediately recognizable for their particularity.
In the post we reconstruct the history and success of this very important fashion house: this is how it all began!
History of the Hermes maison
It was 1837 when Thierry Hermes, a saddler from Paris , “invented” a horse harness shop to increase the earnings of his work. Finished saddles, special rattles, painted reins, a whole series of accessories to obtain an elegant carriage gave the man and his children the opportunity to hone the leather working skills that he did not even suspect.
In 1870, the grandchildren converted the production of harnesses into the production of bags and accessories for humans, opening what still today is the Atelier Hermes: the shop on rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore in Paris.
The company evolved between 1920 and 1930, when Emile Maurice Hermes began to create a line of matching clothes and jewels inspired by the world of horses, but of the highest quality.
In 1929 the first women’s fashion collection designed by the stylist Lola Prusac.
Success came in just a few months: the Hermes collections became the most sought after and most appreciated by the wealthy of the time, who appreciated their details and creativity.
The first women’s fashion line was signed as said by the designer Lola Prusac in ’29, then the belts – the most famous of which was worn by Grace Kelly on the cover of Life Magazine in 1956.
Prusac will work for the brand until 1933 and will also be in charge of the famous collection of bags inspired by Piet Mondrian.
Before the 1960s , the French maison already had over 55 stores in the world and was also expanding into the world of perfumery and scarves , the latter in particular will soon become the workhorse of their idea of fashion.
The Birkin bag: an icon of style and elegance
In 1978, Jean-Louis Dumas becomes the CEO of Hermes and continues to carry on the management of the brand with great innovation and enthusiasm, producing ever innovative collections, where leather and silk are more and more materials of which the brand never fails. less, including the garments of the Pret-a-Porter collections, the latter different from Haute Couture, since it is not necessary to order them but are characterized by more affordable sizes and prices, available in boutiques all over the world.
An important part of this adaptation to modern everyday life is the introduction of the Birkin bag , one of Hermes’ signature flagships. This was born by pure chance from a meeting on a Paris-London flight in 1981 between style icon Jane Birkin and Jean-Louis Dumas .
During this meeting Birkin talks about the difficulties of young mothers to find a bag that is elegant, spacious and practical at the same time and from there Dumas creates the iconic Birkin, still famous and renowned all over the world.
The designers who worked in Hermes
The creative direction of Hermes was led by great stylists, for example just to name a few:
- 1967 by Catherine de Karolyi;
- 1978 by Lacroix;
- 1980 by Eric Bergere ,
- 1988, on the other hand, it was Veronique Nichanian for the men’s collections who gave her imprint to the collections of the French maison;
- from 1998 to 2003 the Belgian designer Martin Margiela was responsible for the women’s pret-a-porter collections;
- from 2003 to 2010 the Hermes stylist was the Enfant Terrible, Jean Paul Gaultier;
- from 2010 to 2014 the reins of the brand are in the hands of Christophe Lemaire;
- since 2014 Hermes and pushed by the collections of the designer Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski;
The company in the new millennium
Although the Hermes family name has been lost over the years, the brand remains and today is managed by the great-grandson of the saddler Thierry.
Patrick Thomas has paradoxically renewed the production bringing it back to the original idea , that is the one inspired by the equestrian world. With 1.242 billion in annual turnover, today Hermes is a name that counts in fashion: clothing, leather goods, perfumery, accessories are the cogs of a machine that never stops and wins more new customers every day.
What does the Hermes brand mean today?
Class, elegance, modernity with a touch of antiquity. However, Hermes means history of the fashion of our time and the fact that it has not yet become a multinational – in the true sense of the word – makes us understand how the family manages the maison with a strong and inventive hand.
The attention to detail is the secret that makes Hermes special and this attention derives precisely from the family management , which does not depersonalize the work but follows it constantly. For those who buy it, Hermes means self-confidence, satisfaction and certainly the awareness of having a real treasure at home or on you.