Image: Grace Kelly | Source: Pinterest

The Enduring Elegance of The Hermes Kelly Handbag

Named after Hollywood and royal style icon Grace Kelly, the Herme’s Kelly Bag is as enduringly elegant as its namesake. The younger sister of The Hermes Birkin is the Hermes Kelly Handbag and is today seen as one of The Best Designer Handbags to Invest In.

Legend has it that Grace Kelly, a Hollywood star turned Princess of Monaco, first spotted the Sac à Dépêches handbag on the set of To Catch a Thief in the 1950s when the costume designer decided to dress Grace Kelly in Hermes. I wasn’t until Grace Kelly was photographed using the bag to supposedly conceal her pregnancy – that this acclaimed Hermes bag found its iconic status.

In 1977, Hermès officially renamed the handbag The Kelly bag and its international renown was born.

Creating the Kelly

Originally named Sac à Dépêches, the iconic handbag was designed in the 1930s by Robert Dumas, the son-in-law of Émile Hermès. Inspired by an idea to create a women’s bag with straps, Dumas designed a bag he called the Haut à Courroies, with an iconic trapezoid shape – featuring two triangular gussets, a cutout flap, a handle and two side straps. It was when Dumas converted the Haut à Courroies into a roomy travel bag that the Sac à Dépêches was officially born.

Today, the Kelly Bag is characterised by its simple silhouette and boxy trapezoid shape with a top handle and detachable leather shoulder strap. The inside of the bag contains one large zip compartment and two open pockets to store smaller items. As Hermès famously does not use any assembly lines, a single craftsman will take up to 24 hours to create one Kelly bag. The design and manufacture of this remarkable piece require care and attention to detail with artisans required to cut the leather and hand-stitch the pieces together.

While the Kelly Hermes is today one of the most popular bags’ around the world, the care required to create the bag means that it’s extremely hard to get your hands on one without a profile or without being one of Hermès VIP clients. Anyone who does get their hands on one will know it’s genuine by the stamped year of production and individual craftsman’s code.

The Kelly Line

The Kelly handbag inspired a line of Kelly accessories which the house of Hermes has made a signature collection. The Kelly line features a collection of small leather goods that allude to the original version – featuring belts, shoes, wallets and purses. A couple of our favourites include the Kelly pocket compact wallet and the Kelly Classique to go clutch – both alluding to the Kelly handbag with its gold hardware and structure.

If you’re looking for more fascinating history on some of the world’s most iconic pieces then you may be interested in reading about the Gucci Sylvie and the Cartier Tank and Cartier Love Bracelet.

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