hermes workshop

For those of you who have or those of you who want, there is a great article about the artisans behind Hermes in Vanity Fair. With the price tag of a Birkin starting around $7,000 now, many people may wonder why the large price tag. The artisans meticulously work on each Birkin, spending between 18 to 25 hours creating it. The Paris workrooms produce only five Birkins per week, which then are supplied world wide. It now makes sense why the wait lists are so long. Yet luxury prices continue to go through the roof. People seem to have no issue spending over $1000 on a handbag, which two years ago seemed steep. A $2500 bag is the new $1000 bag. When will it end?

Almost two centuries ago, a royal coronation might be delayed until the arrival of its exquisitely stitched Hermès carriage fittings, just as today even the richest women must wait for an exquisitely stitched Hermès Birkin bag. With the family-run French company passing to a sixth generation, the author chronicles its rise to global pre-eminence, where a modern aesthetic meets the humble tools””awls, mallets, needles, knives, and stones””of unsurpassed tradition.

For 28 years, from 1978 to 2006, the most quotable voice in retail””pragmatic, poetic””came from Jean-Louis Dumas, the head of a company that in every other way speaks with its hands. It is an old company with a Protestant spine and a Parisian perfectionism, one of the oldest family-owned-and-controlled companies in France. Its name alone prompts sighs of desire among those in the know, and those in the know run the gamut from French housewife to fashionista to queen (both kinds), from social climber to Olympic equestrian to C.E.O. The name itself is a sigh, a flight, and its proper pronunciation must often be taught. “Air-mez”””as in the messenger god with winged sandals. Mischievous, witty, ingenious Hermès.

“We don’t have a policy of image, we have a policy of product.”

Read the entire article at Vanity Fair {link}

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