THE STORY ABOUT HERMES
Hermès was not originally a fashion label, but was founded in Paris in 1837 as a supplier of saddles and similar items to the most prominent European families. Because the nobility at the end of the 19th century had a new hobby, travel, and no longer went on horseback, they looked for another product. Émile-Maurice Hermès, successor to the founder, Thierry Hermès, introduced many new products, including a line of trunks, bags and other travel essentials, all still made of saddle leather. In 1920 he also started offering watches, jewelery and home decoration.
It was also Émile-Maurice who opened the store on Rue Faubourg St. Honoré in Paris, where the flagship store is still located. In the meantime, many new products have been added: ties, fragrances and the well-known scarf, the square.
From 1997 to 2003, the Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela was the creative director of the fashion house, after which he was succeeded by Jean Paul Gaultier. The Fall and Winter 2011 collection was the first collection by Christophe Lemaire, who replaced Gaultier in 2011. The last collection that Gaultier designed for Hermès was the spring and summer collection in 2011.
Hermès specializes in the design, manufacture and marketing of luxury products. In 2020 it achieved a turnover of more than six billion euros. Half of this came from the sale of leather goods such as bags, diaries and writing utensils. Furthermore, a fifth of the turnover came from the sale of clothing, shoes and accessories. The remaining turnover was generated by silk and textile products, perfumes, timepieces and jewellery, lifestyle products and tableware.
At the end of 2020, the group had a network of 306 stores, two-thirds of which it owned. The most important sales regions were France (10% of total turnover), the rest of Europe (15%), Japan (13%), Asia-Pacific (46%) and America (15%). Hermès has 64 production sites, 51 of which are in France.
Hermès is most famous for its bags. The Kelly bag is perhaps the first official it bag. In 1956, ex-film star and princess of Monaco Grace Kelly appeared on the cover of Life magazine with a Hermès crocodile-skin bag for her stomach, to disguise her pregnancy. This created a classic. But the Kelly’s it status was surpassed by the Birkin, which is a little less ladylike. According to one legend, English actress Jane Birkin rummaged through a canvas bag next to the director of Hermès during a 1984 plane trip. He suggested making a similar bag for her, but in luxurious Hermès leather. Since then, the Birkin has been the number one item on the wish list of many bag lovers.
The square, the square silk scarf measuring 90 by 90 cm, with a busy print, was introduced in 1937. In the 1950s, ladies like Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy ensured that the square became a style classic. Twice a year a collection of twelve designs is published. The prints range from historical depictions to cars, chains and keys, some are re-released.
Hermès silk ties were launched in 1949. Originally the ties were plain, followed by ties with drawings in the foreground. The latter’s first collection appeared in 1987 on the occasion of the company’s 150th anniversary and had fireworks as its theme. Since then, a new theme has appeared every year. Hermès releases two collections each year, each of about 500 ties. The annual production is approximately 100,000 units. These are all made in Lyon and packaged in an orange box.
There are various perfumes in the range for both women and men.