Hermès is a legendary luxury fashion house imbued with history and heritage. One of the only high-end labels that’s still privately owned and operated, Hermès is a family enterprise that’s been handed down through five generations and counting. Their beloved silk scarves are eye-catching works of art, while their lavish leather handbags are considered the ultimate fashion indulgence.
Hermès founder, Thierry Hermès, was born in Krefeld, Germany. His family relocated to France in 1828, at which time Thierry began learning the trade of leather making. Nearly a decade later in 1837, Thierry took his talents to the Grands Boulevards quarter of Paris, establishing a harness workshop that served the wealthy noblemen of Europe. Here, Hermès crafted high quality, wrought iron harnesses and bridles for those in the carriage business. It wasn’t long before Hermès was recognized for his innovations. He went on to win the first prize at the Expositions Universelles in Paris in 1855, and again in 1867.
Thierry Hermès passed away in 1878, leaving his workshop to his son, Charles-Emile Hermès. Charles-Emile established the brand’s flagship store in Paris in 1880, moving his father’s workshop to 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, where it still remains today. With the help of his two sons, Adolphe and Emile-Maurice, Charles-Emile began selling saddlery. By expanding his brand’s offering, he was able to cater to elite clients from all over Europe, Russia, North Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Adolphe and Emile-Maurice also assisted their father in creating the ‘Haut a Courroies’ bag, the brand’s first handbag designed for riders to carry their saddles while traveling.
Hermès is probably best recognized for their ultra-exclusive handbags, namely the Birkin and Kelly. Inspired by starlets Jane Birkin and Grace Kelly, Hermès handbags have long been considered a symbol of elite status, and an obscure luxury for the average consumer. Restricted supplies and out-of-this-world prices keep these bags in high demand, available only to those prepared to spend a small fortune.
In 2019, the brand was ranked 33rd in the Forbes List "World's Most Valuable Brands".