The tie is a perfect way to play with appearances, infinitely transformable, it elevates the silhouette in an instant #HermesSilk
Thierry Hermès was born in Krefeld, Germany, to a French father and a German mother. The family moved to France in 1828. In 1837, Hermès first established a harness workshop in the Grands Boulevards quarter of Paris, dedicated to serving European noblemen. He created high-quality wrought harnesses and bridles for the carriage trade, winning several awards including the first prize in its class in 1855 and again in 1867 at the Expositions Universelles in Paris.
Hermès’s son, Charles-Émile, took over management from his father in 1880 and moved the shop to 24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where it remains. With the help of his sons Adolphe and Émile-Maurice, Charles-Émile introduced saddlery and started selling his products retail. The company catered to the élite of Europe, North Africa, Russia, Asia, and the Americas. In 1900, the firm offered the Haut à Courroies bag, specially designed for riders to carry their saddles with them.
The scarf or carré (square) was introduced in 1937. The first example was a 70 cm x 70 cm print of white-wigged females playing a popular period game, a custom-made accessory named “Jeu des Omnibus et Dames Blanches.” Hermès oversaw the production of its scarves throughout the entire process, purchasing raw Chinese silk, spinning it into yarn, and weaving it into fabric twice as strong and heavy as most scarves available at the time.
The company’s scarf designers spend years creating new print patterns that are individually screen-printed. Designers can choose from over 70,000 different colors. When production first began, a dedicated factory was established in Lyon, France, the same year that Hermès celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Contemporary Hermès carrés measure 90 cm × 90 cm, weigh 65 grams and are woven from the silk of 250 mulberry moth cocoons. All hems are hand-stitched. Motifs are wide-ranging, Two silk-scarf collections per year are released, along with some reprints of older designs and limited editions. And two collections per year are introduced in a Cashmere/silk blend. Since 1937, Hermès has produced over 2,000 unique designs; the horse motif is particularly famous and popular. The ubiquitous “Brides de Gala” version, introduced in 1957, has been produced more than 70,000 times. An Hermès scarf is sold somewhere in the world every 25 seconds; by the late 1970s, more than 1.1 million scarves had been sold worldwide.
In 1946, the brand introduced a range of men’s silk neckties in an array of motifs and widths. Neckties account for 10% of the company’s annual sales.
Hermès is known for its handmade luggage and handbags. One of them might require 18 to 24 hours to produce. The construction of each Kelly bag, for example, requires 18 hours to fully realize. Hermès’s leathers come from all over the world. Customers may currently wait from six months to one year for delivery of one of the house’s signature bags. Incidentally, should Hermès’s leather goods require repair, owners can bring an item to any Hermès store, where it will be shipped to Les Ateliers Hermès in Pantin for repair or reconditioning.
Another famous Hermès handbag, the “Birkin bag“, was named after British actress Jane Birkin. In a chance encounter with Jean-Louis Dumas, she complained that her bag was not practical for everyday use. Consequently, he invited her to France where they co-designed the bag in 1984. Birkin has since stopped carrying her namesake bag due to her tendonitis, as the bag became too large and heavy for her to carry. Asked by her that her name be removed and with much back-and-forth comments about various issues such as having her name removed. According to Vogue: “Jane Birkin ‘is satisfied by the measures taken by Hermès’, according to the brand, following an investigation by the fashion house [that refuted] claims made by PETA that its famous Birkin bags were being ‘constructed from the skins of factory-farmed and cruelly slaughtered crocodiles.’ “
In 2021, the Farm Transparency Project released video footage from three Australian crocodile farms owned by Hermès, which showed the small cages and concrete floors the animals live on and how they are slaughtered, including by stabbing and electrocution.
Hermès | Men’s winter 2022 collection
Hermès Frères era
After Charles-Émile Hermès’s retirement, sons Adolphe and Émile-Maurice took leadership and renamed the company Hermès Frères. Shortly after, Émile-Maurice began furnishing the tsar of Russia with saddles. By 1914, up to 80 saddle craftsmen were employed. Subsequently, Émile-Maurice was granted the exclusive rights to use the zipper for leather goods and clothing, becoming the first to introduce the device in France. In 1918, Hermès introduced the first leather golf jacket with a zipper, made for Edward, Prince of Wales. Because of its exclusive rights arrangement the zipper became known in France as the fermeture Hermès (Hermès fastener).
Throughout the 1920s when he was the sole head of the firm, Émile-Maurice added accessories and clothing collections. He also groomed his three sons-in-law (Robert Dumas, Jean-René Guerrand, and Francis Puech) as business partners. In 1922, the first leather handbags were introduced after Émile-Maurice’s wife complained of not being able to find one to her liking. Émile-Maurice created the handbag collection himself.
In 1924, Hermès established a presence in the United States and opened two shops outside of Paris. In 1929, the first women’s couture apparel collection was previewed in Paris. During the 1930s, Hermès introduced some of its most recognized original goods such as the leather “Sac à dépêches” in 1935 (later renamed the “Kelly bag” after Grace Kelly) and the Hermès carrés (square scarves) in 1937.
The scarves became integrated into French culture. In 1938, the “Chaîne d’ancre” bracelet and the riding jacket and outfit joined the classic collection. By this point, the company’s designers began to draw inspirations from paintings, books, and objets d’art. The 1930s also witnessed Hermès’s entry into the United States market by offering products in a Neiman Marcus department store in New York; however, it later withdrew. In 1949, the same year as the launch of the Hermès silk tie, the first perfume, “Eau d’Hermès”, was produced.
From the mid-1930s, Hermès employed Swiss watchmaker Universal Genève as the brand’s first and exclusive designer of timepieces, producing a line of men’s wrist chronographs (manufactured in 18K gold or stainless steel) and women’s Art Déco cuff watches in 18K gold, steel, or platinum. Both models contained dials signed either “Hermès” or “Hermès Universal Genève”, while the watch movements were signed “Universal Genève S.A.”. The Hermès/Universal partnership lasted until the 1950s.
Émile-Maurice summarized the Hermès philosophy during his leadership as “leather, sport, and a tradition of refined elegance.”