Before you get your hopes up: no, you still can't buy an Hermès Birkin or Kelly Bag online, straight from the brand. (Although there are certainly other places you can pick one up.) Beyond those two highly sought-after designs, though, now's the best time ever to be buying brand new Hermès bags on the Internet, thanks to the brand's own online store. As quotidian as that sounds in The Year of Our Lord 2016, it does make Hermès something of an anomaly among its top-tier competitors in the luxury accessory market.
Hermès doesn't have a direct competitor in the fashion industry--its handbags are the most expensive and most universally highly regarded in the world. Louis Vuitton, Chanel and sometimes Céline come close, though, as far as offering rarified ultra-luxury accessories, and all of those brands are varying levels of stingy when it comes to selling their bags online. Chanel and Céline decline to participate in the practice entirely (although Chanel's entrance into the online accessories market is said to be forthcoming), and although Louis Vuitton sells its lower-priced canvas bags and some leather online, you have to contact the brand by phone or in person to get exotics. That hasn't been the case with Hermès for quite a while, and it's certainly not the case right now--not only are lots of the brand's popular bags available, but most of them are available in multiple sizes, abundant colors and, for some of them, even the brand's ultra-rare exotic leathers.
Luxury brands have long shied away from e-commerce because it threatened their traditional senses of exclusivity and rarity, and when consumers no longer associate those ideas with a high-end designer, they're usually also no longer willing to pay top-tier prices for goods bearing its name. Hermès, though, is proof of concept for the idea that online availability doesn't necessarily cheapen a brand's value in the eyes of consumers. If you make an exceptional product, it will always feel rare and people will be happy to buy it no matter where it's available.
That's good news for Hermès lovers, and especially those who are outside of the posh urban centers where luxury boutiques usually crop up. Below, we've picked over a dozen of our favorite currently available bags from Hermès's selection, and you can shop the full edit (on the brand's admittedly frustrating-to-navigate website) right here.