Posts Tagged ‘Hermès’

The gold and green Hermès bag that Ms. Romanek inherited from her grandmother. Photo: Michael P.H. Clifford.

I inherited this Hermès bag from my grandmother when she passed away 19 years ago. Before COVID, I circled the bag in my closet for years. But then, during the pandemic, I was like ‘You know what? I want to feel good, and this is bringing me joy.’ Now I wear it every day, with an A-line skirt or a sweater set or a nice pair of jeans. When I do, it makes me think about my grandmother and smile. I know this sounds crazy, but it gives me a little bit of support.

Brigette Romanek – Interior designer.

This quote is from Harper’s Bazaar magazine, November 2022.

I really like this story! How lovely that Ms. Romanek uses her grandmother’s handbag every day and that she finds comfort in it.

During the pandemic, I also pulled out some of my tucked-away treasures. I started wearing pearls every day, even if I was just staying home. I have a custom-made tweed coat that I used to wear only for dressy occasions, but now I slip it on for our winter strolls in the neighborhood. Why not? Life is too short not to wear and use our nice things.

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Image: Harper’s Bazaar.

I always wanted one. For me the Birkin bag was the ultimate luxury item, and I knew I would never get bored of it. I convinced myself that I really needed one and thought I would eventually pass it on to my daughter.

Suzanne Koller, Austrian born stylist and fashion director of M Le Magazine du Monde.

This is a quote from an article in Harper’s Bazaar, March 2021.

In 1984 fashion model and singer Jane Birkin was on a flight from Paris to London when her basket bag flopped over, spilling its contents on the floor. The gentleman sitting next to Ms. Birkin, Jean-Louis Dumas, at the time the executive chairman of Hermès, noticed and he and his seatmate had a chat about the difficulties of finding a handbag large enough to carry all that the busy model and mother needed on any given day. Mr. Dumas immediately started sketching and voila, the Birkin bag was born.

Hermès asked if they could name the bag after Ms. Birkin and she agreed. Apparently she receives an annual royalty for the use of her name and she donates that money to charity.

Made of sturdy leather, the Birkin is a constructed carryall bag in rectangular shape with a flap. Its simplicity and versatility is its signature.

It takes Hermès craftspeople 15 to 20 hours to make each Birkin bag and every bag is made by one person. Add the design process (the design has slightly altered over the years), cutting and dyeing the leather, and we’re talking two years from prototype to finished product. Some Birkins are custom made with particular leathers and hardware. It takes time but quality always does. And the Birkin gives back, in that it will stand the test of time in style and wear. It’s an investment piece meant not to sit in the closet but to use every day. Some people use it as their gym bag, others throw groceries into their Birkin.

The Berkin can cost upwards of $15,000 and there’s a waiting list. If you’re not a celebrity, it’s a long wait. But that’s all part of the Birkin mojo.

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IMG_0490It’s true, I tend to treat myself to a few wonderful sartorial things a year. Perhaps something custom-made or handcrafted to add to my wardrobe, but I keep it to pieces I need and rarely do I indulge in a luxury brand item.

Then one day an e-mail popped up from Hermès. I’ve always admired the craft of the Hermès scarf, if not the motifs, which are a little busy. Still, the layers of color and the screen-printing all done by hand … I love the whole idea. I was happy just to look until that e-mail arrived showing off their latest silk twill pocket square with the oh-so 1920s and 30s looking women, sporty, and in autumn colors. A pocket square is quite a bit smaller than a scarf but large enough to wear and within my price range. I had to have it, although, I kept to my long tradition of sleeping on any expensive purchase.

At first I thought I wanted to make a special occasion of it and journey over to San Francisco to the Hermès boutique and get the whole luxury shopping experience. However, having to work to afford the lovely accessory, I soon let go of that and ordered online. Within days the package arrived with a card that said: To Me from Me, just because.

I was all happy smiles slowly untying the brown ribbon from the signature orange box. Peeling back the delicate tissue paper I delighted in seeing my new pocket square nicely folded in quarters. As expected, it is rich in color and finely detailed with rolled edges that were hand sewn and done so in France, merci beaucoup!


I haven’t worn it yet but I look forward to doing so this autumn.

Hey, readers, have you treated yourself lately? Leave a comment and tell us all about it.

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Hermès artisans start off as apprentices. Photo: Richard Aiello.

Last night I was lucky enough to attend the opening reception of the Hermès Ateliers Exhibition located in San Francisco’s Union Square Park. My fellow attendees and I got to see up-close how the goods of Hermès are handcrafted by trained artisans, many of whom have been working with the luxury brand for decades.

Circulating the pavilion, we sipped cocktails while watching demonstrations of screen-printing, stone setting, final hand stitching on a tie, detailing on leather handbags, creation of buttonholes, and much more.

Local translators were hired to help explain the various processes and answer questions on behalf of the artisans who traveled to San Francisco from France.  

Photo: Richard Aiello.

Some of the highlights for me:

  • watching the image on a scarf slowly develop as each layer of color was added
  • the quick but precise tap of a chisel creating a shirt’s buttonhole
  • trying to keep up with a description of the oh-so-many steps to designing a scarf illustration

What a treat to meet the people behind the goods as well as see and better appreciate their craft. The exhibition is open to all now through September 24, 2012, 11am to 6pm. I highly recommend this rare opportunity.

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