The Kelly Hermès is a simple and impeccable bag that became iconic on the arm of Princess Grace Kelly.
The History of Kelly Hermès
1892 – Robert Dumas-Hermès imagined, from a rider’s bag, the Haut à Courroies bag, the most famous ancestor of ladies’ handbags. Made purely for practical purposes, it was intended for functional use.
His goal: to convey the riders’ boots and saddle. Designed for this purpose, the bag has a simple, refined and architectural aesthetic. A trapezoidal shape with only one closure, two straps, and a small padlock.
1935 – The Hermès house decided to make an absolutely feminine version, that was also more urban. The idea was again to adapt to the needs of the time. For ladies, Hermès imagined a travel bag. Because of this, the first belt bag takes a smaller dimension.
To make it, one worker shapes each bag, throughout the stages of its production.
1956 – the bag became famous. How? Alongside her husband Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Grace Kelly, princess of Monaco, was photographed during a plane descent which had become legendary.
The photo ended up on the cover of Life magazine. We see the princess covering her barely rounded belly with the bag. She actually was hiding an early pregnancy there. Not yet official, a rounded belly of a future mother hidden behind a bag. It didn’t take much to create the event.
And Hermès, a discreet and majestic family brand, seemed to certify its refinement.
The First It-Bag in History?
In 1977, the saddler renamed the travel bag named after the princess. The Dumas-Hermès brothers call it “Kelly”.
It was rigid at first, but it quickly adopted a more casual appearance with the arrival of a very flexible leather – Gulliver calfskin. Sewn inside out and turned inside out like a glove, it was a new look, more modern and relaxed, a style that accompanies women.
A Kelly Hermès is classic, noble and generous fashion, like the princess.
Today, the bag is cut in the most luxurious materials. In ostrich or crocodile, leather is still the material of choice.
It is made in many colors, twenty materials, and in eight sizes, which vary from 15 to 50 cm in width. Evolving at the same time as generations of women, it accompanies them at all times and in all situations.
Sport or city version, its evening dress with gold and diamond jewelry padlocks, it is the emblem of French luxury. Versatile and absolutely perfect.
In 2004, for his first fashion show produced for the house at 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Jean Paul Gaultier revisited it for the first time. This is because the saddler focuses on creating items that go through time as needed, and not museum objects.
The result of this first conversion by Jean Paul Gaultier? The long Kelly Shoulder, to be worn under the arm. A fashion icon which, in classic or more contemporary versions, is undoubtedly the ultimate bag.
To own a Kelly is to own a myth. It is to hold fresh beauty and distinguished elegance by hand. It is possessing a piece of the Princess’ grace which gave it its name.