January is a tough month. It’s cold, it’s dark, you have the whole post-holiday letdown thing going on. If you’re a luxury consumer, you also have to deal with the fact that many brands use the post-holiday lull to sneak in a little annual price increase. In the immediate future, Hermes is the price increase you need to worry about, according to shopping site Mizhattan.

Mizhattan is known for getting this kind of sneaky info on price increases, sample sales and other hush-hush Manhattan retail machinations, and her sources indicate that, starting late next week, Hermes customers can expect storewide prices to increase anywhere from 6% to 10%, depending on the product category. Her source indicates that handbags will be the most affected by the higher prices, and we’re taking that to mean that accessories and leather goods will be closer to the 10% end of the increase spectrum.

The full transition to new price levels should be complete by the end of the month, so if you’ve got a purchase in mind, you might want to hightail it to your local Hermes boutique after work tonight. A 10% price increase would mean approximately an extra $1,000 on the price tags of entry-level leather Birkins and 3,800 extra dollars on the crocodile bag that Hermes currently has for sale on its website.

Hermes, of course, is at the tip-top tier of the luxury handbag market; their customers aren’t price-conscious to begin with, and for many, the extreme dollar amounts are a big part of company’s lure of exclusivity. 10% is a pretty hefty lift, but if you’re a company that does a turn-away business with $10,000 handbags, changing the price to $11,000 probably isn’t going to make that big a difference to those who buy them. There’s likely a price tipping point for Hermes out there somewhere, but I’d be surprised if this is it.

On Friday, something interesting was brought to our attention on Twitter – Hermes now has one very particular exotic bag for sale on its website. In our memory, as well as our tipster’s, this is the first time exotic bags have been so widely accessible from the notoriously insular brand, and the Hermes Double Sens Croco Tote it may be an indicator of the inevitable future of luxury shopping.

Hermes has an interesting product category on its website called “Surprise!” that is updated periodically with new pieces that range from breathtaking to oddball. It currently contains a marble horse-head sculpture that retails for over $7,000 and a crocodile mini saddle that will cost you in excess of 20 Gs. Most interesting to us, though, is this simple little reversible tote, covered on one side by either Porosus crocodile or Mississippiensis alligator, depending on the size you choose.

Hermes exotics are beyond legendary, and while the crocodile version of this bag doesn’t quite crack the ceiling to make it the most expensive exotic bag on the Internet (the alligator version, which is smaller, will set you back $26,900 to the larger crocodile’s $38,000), the presence of this one for sale online, directly from the brand, represents another step forward in the luxury business’ tentative embrace of online shopping. With Forbes reporting that online sales saw a significant spike while brick-and-mortar sales lagged this holiday season, the writing may be on the wall for even the most staid of designer brands.

The iconic French design house has long offered a limited selection of its products for sale on its website, but like Louis Vuitton, Hermes has always kept the exclusive pieces off the Internet. Although this bag’s online presence is likely a result of its basic design, and products in the “Surprise!” section generally don’t stick around for long, that Hermes would offer a piece from its most exclusive product category on its website says a lot about where the industry is headed.


Hermes Double Sens Chiffon PM Bag
$26,900 via Hermes

Hermes Double Sens Chiffon PM Bag Grey

Hermes Double Sens Chiffon PM Bag
$26,900 via Hermes

Hermes Double Sens Chiffon PM Bag Green

Hermes Double Sens Chiffon GM Bag
$38,000 via Hermes

Hermes Double Sens Chiffon GM Bag

The web is a buzz over Kim Kardashian’s Christmas gift from her fiance Kanye West. Kim Kardashian proudly showed off her bag on Instagram, which looks to be an older Hermes HAC, that Kanye West had painted by renowned artist George Condo, an American contemporary visual artist. Kanye first worked with artist George Condo in 2010 for a series of paintings for West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The Hermes Bag has been covered on the front with four people, mostly nude and one with a green monster face. (more…)

Here’s Alessandra Ambrosio, carrying a tan leather Hermes Evelyne Bag (and rocking a matching Hermes belt) while shopping at the Chanel flagship boutique on Robertson Boulevard in LA. This seems to be a new purchase for Alessandra, as it didn’t appear in our very recent edition of “The Many Bags of Alessandra Ambrosio.” Alessandra does have a well-documented affection for Chanel, however. Hermes used to vend the Evelyne on their website, but sadly, that no longer seems to be the case.

We feature a LOT of supermodel celebs on PurseBlog (they always carry great bags), but I have a soft spot for Alessandra and her breezy, casual personal style. (And her short shorts. So, so many short shorts.) While the Miranda Kerrs and Rosie Huntington-Whiteleys of the world always look professionally styled to a tee, Alessandra’s looks let us believe that she might actually dress herself in the morning. (Which is, I’m sure, exactly what her stylist would like us to believe.)

Christmas is right around the corner and tonight Vlad and I plan to bundle up on the couch, watch our favorite holiday movies, and drink hot cocoa. My Hermes Birkin is feeling festive as well and played dress up as Rudolph the red nosed Hermes. What are your holiday traditions? And if you have a festive bag photo, share it with us in the comments below!

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Our parade of celebs and their Birkins continues with Katy Perry and her petite, dark grey Hermes Birkin. Katy and her Birkin are seen here leaving dinner at Soho House in NYC, where she dined with One Direction’s Niall Horan. (This occasion probably merits further scrutiny, but you’re here for the handbags, so I’ll move on.) Katy’s bag is a 30cm Hermes Birkin – most of the Birkins we see celebs carrying on PB are of the 35cm variety. That teensy 5cm difference really changes everything about the bag proportionally, making the 30cm look and feel a bit mini. (Our own Megs has both a 35 and 30cm Birkin, so we’ve seen this magic up close.)

While we’ve featured some truly amazing Hermes Birkins on PB this week, we do feel obliged to inform you that we do try our best to present you with a wider variety of celeb bags on the blog…it’s just that EVERYONE is carrying their Birkins again lately. It’s a complete Birkinfest out there! Is there something about winter weather that makes stars reach for their Birkins? Or do they simply opt for Birkins because they come in such a nice range of darker, richer, more winter-appropriate hues?

Heiress Tamara Ecclestone recently paid a visit to Hermes Madison Avenue in NYC with her new husband Jay Rutland. She carried an Hermes So Black Alligator Birkin Bag just for the occasion. We actually saw Tamara in NYC with this super rare, exclusive Hermes bag around this exact same time last year. This is the sort of limited edition Hermes bag you’ll only see in the hands of heiresses, top-tier actresses, Kardashians and the like. For Hermes fans, it’s kind of the Holy Grail.

It’s extremely hard to tell, but Tamara is actually four and a half months pregnant in this photo. (Congrats, tiny fetus, you’re already a billionaire!) Bizarrely enough, when we saw Tamara with this bag last year, she hadn’t even met Jay. They met in January, became engaged in February, wed in a $7 million celebration on the French Riviera in June and announced their happy news in October.

Maria Shriver, her daughter Katherine Schwarzenegger and a PUPPY were recently spotted shopping at Cross Creek in LA. Maria was carrying a gorgeous, red Hermes Crocodile Birkin. From the lovely, slightly slouchy look of the leather, it appears as though she carries it regularly and has for some time. Croc Birkins cost well into the five figures, and the price varies greatly depending on the size.

I suspect most Birkin-loving celebs swap out their Birkins once the stiffness of the leather starts to give, but it’s nice to see someone who clearly gets a little use out of a bag for which they paid such a princely sum! After all, Birkins are meant to be used, and not sealed away in the original box in a locked vault and left to accumulate value. (Though the latter idea isn’t a terrible one for the long term.)

Even in a particularly crowded luxury handbag market, Hermes occupies a spot unto itself. The bags are scarce, sought-after a simply the best, and they have the price tags that go along with all that exclusivity. Making the leap from being a designer handbag consumer to being an Hermes consumer is a daunting prospect, but we know that, at this very moment, untold numbers of you are contemplating whether or not now’s the right time to do just that. We’re here to help, of course; if you’ve ever wondered if owning an Hermes bag is worth paying the premium, we’ve got ten reasons why we think you should take the plunge. (more…)

I always forget something at Duane Reade. Dry shampoo, Diet Coke, toilet paper, Ziploc bags…that’s everything, right? And then I get home and realize that, duh, I forgot to throw a handmade Hermes Cavale Saddle in my basket. Conviently, Sotheby’s, Apple creative head Johnny Ive and legendary designer Marc Newson have joined forces to make one such Hermes saddle available to support a very worthy cause during the 2013 (RED) Auction. It’ll match the horse that I ride to my subway stop perfectly. (more…)

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