Quick Lesson: Hermès
With the grand opening of Hermès looming in the near future, Calgary Fashion has decided to compile a short introduction to the label, its history, its key pieces, and what it means to have such a prestigious boutique opening in Calgary.
Hermès, founded by Thierry Hermès in 1837, began as a leather goods line specializing in harnesses, saddles, and other equestrian goods. The company became an success among royalty and those who could afford the fine workmanship. Hermès developed a reputation for impecctable quality, materials, and tailoring that the company expanded to include luggage, leather golf jackets, scarves, smaller leather goods, perfume, jewelry, homewares and eventually clothing. To this day Hermès remains a family-run business, six-generations deep, and stays true to its roots in luxury.
Quick Facts about Hermès
Jean Paul Gaultier: womenswear designer
Veronique Nichanian: menswear designer
The iconic Hermès scarf, is folded and worn in a special manner
Hermès bags are sold in the boutiques, but consumers do not leave with a tangible bag. It takes several years before the purchaser, civilian or celebrity alike, can show-off their coveted bag
All Hermès handbags are hand-made. Hermès does not use celebrities to endorse their brand, in fact they loathe concept
"Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster" author Dana Thomas states that Hermès is one of the few luxury brands that remain true to the concept of luxury
So what does the arrival of Hermès mean to Calgary? For those who can afford Hermès wares, or those who can shamelessly go into debt to don the prestigious label, it means access to unparalleled quality. Perhaps a shift in Calgary's shopping habits have also shifted away from disposable fashion. Hermès is classic, durable, and an investment. It also means Calgary is attracting major design houses, making it inevitable that the downtown core will attract more distinguished brands. The arrival of Hermès is also bitter sweet. Will a Hermès scarf or handbag be the new Coach bag? Will the brand's reputation for craftmanship be undermined for its status to 'one-up' those who cannot afford the smallest article? Will Calgary's consumers understand the history of the label, and appreciate it for its longevity and unwavering commitment? Does Calgary even need a Hermès considering the city is dedicated to casual wear? Time will tell whether Hermès will be appreciated or become another 'pretty' thing.
Selections from Fall RTW 2009 (Style.com)