In 1837 Thierry Hermès opened his workshop making the finest quality harnesses and saddles in the heart of Paris.
Today Hermes is still a family company whose craftspeople make, often by hand and always with love luxury leather goods, bags and belts, scarves, ties, men’s wear, women’s fashion, perfumes, watches, stationery, footwear, gloves, enamel, decorative arts, tableware and jewelry.
The most recognisable Hermes items are the Hermès Kelly bag- made popular by its namesake Grace Kelly, the Hermès Birkin bag- named in honour of Jane Birkin and the Constance shoulder bag with its double strap and large H clasp. All remain constantly in demand with long waiting lists. Exotic leathers used by Hermès include lizard from Malaysia, alligator from Florida, buffalo from Pakistan, crocodile from Australia and ostrich, goat and oxen from all over the world.
Famous Hermès scarf lovers include Queen Elizabeth II who sported one for her portrait for postage stamps in the fifties, Grace Kelly who used a Hermès scarf as a very stylish sling when she broke her arm, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O and infamously Sharon Stone, who utilised a Hermès scarf in the film Basic Instinct.
Hermès Fragrances were introduced in 1951 with Eau d’Hermès, created by perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, one of the greatest creative spirits of the world of fragrances. Ten years later, the birth of Calèche, the establishment’s first women’s perfume, confirmed the involvement of Hermès in the craft of perfume creation. Since then, fragrance has followed fragrance, each signed by the great names of perfume design. The arrival of Jean-Claude Ellena, in 2004, as the in-house perfumer for Hermès, was a decisive step. As an artist of olfactory emotion, an aesthete who goes beyond scale and material, he shares Hermès’ sense of craftsmanship and expertise.
In May 2010, Jean-Paul Gaultier has been replaced as creative fashion director of Hermès with Christophe Lemaire- creative director of Lacoste.
Hermes makes anything one could possibly need to feel prince of a world where beauty and functionality, practicality and pure indulgence are in perfect harmony.
In 2010 the luxury goods company LVMH acquired 17.1 percent stake in Hermès but has increased its stake to 22.3 percent until 2012. Although the industry insiders are in doubt, speculation that LVMH will launch a takeover bid for Hermès has been repeatedly denied by the LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault.
In July 2012, Hermes filed a legal complaint over LVMH’s stake-building in the company. In order to avert the threat of a takeover, the Hermes family created a new holding company taking control of Hermes’ shares.