1837: Thierry Hermès founds his eponymous boutique in Paris, specialized in the creation and production of saddles and harnesses. Located in the Grands Boulevards neighborhood, Hermès was still a far cry from being a luxury boutique – on the contrary, their target customer was demanding professionals and individuals seeking fine materials. In those days, horses were still the transport method du jour – and Thierry Hermès made a living off of this; he excelled in it even. His initial successes resided in the fabrication of harnesses adapted to the carriage and its team of horses, made-to-order.
1867: the manufacturer earns the First Class medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris. Several years later, in 1880, the saddler would set up shop at 24 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré. Not because the neighborhood was chic, but because it was close to the stables on the Champs-Elysées. Czar Nicolas II of Russia was one of their loyal clients. Just as Hermès’ reputation began to go beyond a small circle of those “in-the-know”, the founder died and left his son Charles-Emile with the task of succeeding him. Through him and his descendants, Hermès would expand its line with coverings for horses and other textiles and equipment. But the end of the century would see the decline of the use of horses already. A visionary man, Charles-Emile intensified the diversification of Hermès’ production.
While the 20th century definitively saw transit by horse come to an end, Hermès preserved this symbol to identify with the elegant world of jockey clubs and the society life surrounding them. Thus in the 20s, Emile-Maurice Hermès acquired a lead and white gouache drawing entitled Le Duc Attelé by Alfred de Dreux. This drawing marked the genesis of Hermès’ logo – a historical perspective confounded with that of horse races to construct a luxurious realm of imagination. Officially trademarked in 1945, the horse and carriage would become the brand’s signature. “The first client is the horse, the second is the rider,” declared Jean-Louis Dumas, the brand’s inheritor.
With the disappearance of the horse in daily life, Hermès chose to make allusion to its original intention: bridles, saddles, harnesses, and riding boots. But the logo doesn’t necessarily appear in each of the brand’s creations. Indeed, the absence of the logo plays in favor of the saddler – Hermès is exclusive, characterized by their rarity, their discretion, and the artisanal craftsmanship poured into the fabrication of each one of their pieces. In three words, Hermès’ allure is sleek, nomadic, and timeless. Once more today, the horse is at the heart of this label and is honored time and time again through obstacle jumping or riding contests, like the Saut Hermès beneath the glass dome of the Grand Palais in Paris. A spirit, a logo, an imagination: Hermès horse-drawn carriage stands watch over this heritage.