Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Lesson On Hermes, from HORSES to HANDBAGS

As a little girl, I was absolutely, over the top MAD for ... horses. Still am, although I can't indulge that particular passion much these days. Still, the scent of a horse and the rich smell of leather, they put me at instant ease.

And Edith, my mother, as some of you know, was a Fashion Maven - today, they call someone like her a 'fashionista'. Whatever, it means the same thing: A Woman With Style and Class, A Woman Who Knows How to Dress, and Who Dresses To Go To The Post Office, Right Down To Her Darling Shoes & Handbag & Eyeglasses Coordinated to The Outfit. THAT, in a really long run-on sentence nutshell, was my mother.

So picture in your mind the year they gave me the option of DESIGNING MY OWN BEDROOM and I couldn't decide between a HORSE theme or a GIRLY theme. {guess which one Edith was pulling for?!} In the end, being the determined child that I was {I outgrew that trait - NOT!} I ended up with TWO bedroom schemes, based on the seasons and my two loves - HORSES and BEING A GIRL. The soft sheer floral fabric, lined in sunshiney lemon yellow, was for Spring and Summer ... the soft fluffy chestnut {yes, that is a horse color} fabric with the fringe trim - that was for Fall and Winter. IT WORKED !!! {unlike when I was given the choice of Ballet class or Horseback Riding - I was FORCED to choose, and so since horses won, I've been affectionately called 'Grace' - and NOT after the Princess - for years, due to my awkward style}. But my future as an Interior Designer was likely born right then & there ...

What does this have to do with ANYTHING, you are wondering? {maybe NOTHING, maybe just NOTHING ... you don't have to read on, I'll never know ...}

Don't we all have a PASSION for ... PURSES? Handbags of a certain style and beauty? Come on, admit it. YOU DO, I know you do. I have one {not handbag, silly - the PFP - Passion for Purses}. I need a support group. Purses, and shoes. Although I can't afford the truly pricey ones that I so desire, still, I do indulge from time to time. As Edith taught my sister and me, there is NOTHING so outfit-finishing as ... the right accessory (shoe, purse, scarf, jewelry). Spend Good Money on It, whatever "It" might be, and It Will Serve You Well. A Classic Never Goes Out of Style.

Doing a little online research this morning, I found all kinds of good info on Hermes - their bags, including that CLASSIC darling, the "Kelly Bag", seen below on the arm of Princess Grace of Monaco ...

and the more recent "Birkin" ...

"For the uninitiated, these bags, which start at about $7,000 and can top $25,000 depending on hide and hue, are named for a duo of beautiful actresses.

Philadelphia-born Grace Kelly -- so blonde, so patrician -- had been wed less than a year to Prince Rainier of Monaco when she deftly obscured her royal pregnancy with a structured, crocodile Hermes purse on a 1956 Life magazine cover. Created in 1892 as a large saddle carrier -- the French fashion house started out as a saddlemaker -- the bag was downsized for daywear in the 1930s. But after its moment in Life, it was dedicated to Her Serene Highness, and, as legends often do, lives on after her.

By contrast, it was during a 1981 airplane flight that the effluvia in British-born actress-singer Jane Birkin's overstuffed purse spilled in the vicinity of Jean-Louis Dumas-Hermes. Three years later, the venerable firm introduced a bag for Birkin's more bohemian lifestyle based on an 1892 design. In a splendid bit of irony, Birkin recently confessed she barely used hers because it had proved hazardous to her health. "I told Hermes they were mad to make it. My one was always full, and it ended up giving me tendinitis," she told the Scotland on Sunday newspaper in March. Like the Kelly, the Birkin is crafted entirely by hand by a single artisan from start to finish, and embellished with a petite padlock, keys and gleaming hardware made of white or yellow gold."

{above, from the article, Hermes v. Hermes, By Annie Groer, Washington Post Staff Writer - June 28, 2006}

... and their saddles. Did you know that HERMES began as a Saddlery? It's true. {Did you read the excerpt above?} "Close contact, comfort and beauty. Herm├Ęs has focused on technique and aesthetics to create this beautiful, close contact saddle. The tree has a wide arch to free the wither and contribute to the best possible balance of the saddle on the horse’s back, creating optimum contact. The French buffalo seat and thin saddle ensure a closer fit between the horse and rider. Calfskin padded panels continue slightly beyond the line of the seat, making for a more comfortable ride. Billet straps are slightly further forward. Available with or without knee blocks. Weighs only 11 lbs."

HERMES has grown into a multi-faceted provider of all things luxurious -- CLICK ON THIS LINK to see a very cool presentation, a la Hermes ... CLICK on each little image, and you get a sweet little look at the details of that item -- when done, return to all the tile images by clicking on the red-tile-squares on the screen - you'll see 'em. ENJOY the wonders of Hermes ...
I just loved the image of the horse, the saddle, and those ASHTRAYS - they look like a stack of Coasters, which would be far more Politically Correct - no matter, they are BEAUTIFUL. Go back to view them if you missed them. And there's a fab scarf image, too, with a lovely story.
So pretend you are in the market for a Hermes bag ... how to choose which style? A little help here, again, from that 2006 article in the Washington Post:

"Paper or plastic? Somehow we manage that decision quickly, almost reflexively. But Kelly or Birkin? That is a far more serious matter, and not just because it involves three or four zeroes. Choosing between these two iconic bags is far more complicated.

While both styles exude money (old, new, discreet, flashy), each signals to the world, or at least to an international pack of fashion hounds, a very different aesthetic and vibe.
"The Kelly is a touch more formal, a little more appropriate for an evening out, a business dinner, as a more refined look. The Birkin is more sporty, more casual. Often people use it as a briefcase, throw in a change of shoes," says Trina Sams-Manning, manager of the Hermes shop in Fairfax Square.

Inga Guen, who sells gently used Kellys and Birkins at Inga's Once Is Not Enough, a high-end consignment shop in Northwest Washington, is even more emphatic about the difference. "A woman who is going to wear the Kelly is of very erect stature, she comes from money, very good background, is extraordinarily educated, and life to her is one where she will be very inconspicuous," says Guen, an avid Kelly carrier. She cuts a bit of slack for the Birkin femme, who "wears Manolo mules, a pair of jeans, a little Chanel jacket. She is the younger woman."

Me, I'd take a Red Crocodile KELLY ... it's such a classic ...

But then, I'd be equally happy with a Hermes saddle hanging in the hallway, where I could gaze at it and sniff that leather smell every time I walked by ... here, RODRIGO PESSOA, a horseman of huge renown, on what I assume is his Hermes:

So - what did you think? Did you visit the HERMES site via the link I included?

I'm tickled to illustrate today's POST with these images ... a Hollywood and Monacan legend, Princess Grace ... Rodrigo Pessoa, the Paris-born Brazilian master of jumping ... Edith, my mother, who was such a beauty, and those Hermes pieces, from horses to handbags ... would a handsome face like Rodrigo's lie to you?! I think not.


Francia said...

I guess Mom didn't wear off on me. I buy a purse I like and wear it until it falls apart. Ofcourse the one I buy is a good one and I think it always looks nice or everyone is afraid to tell me what they think.
I love what you wrote. Davi you really should be published. How can we market you?
Love your sister,Francia

2Travelers said...

My sister is a sweetheart - you see why I love her so? she says such kind things about me. to her comment that I ought to be published - I can only say that the only way I'm likely to end up published might be in a medical journal someday, about people who live with FREAKING-BUTT MIGRAINE and OCCIPITAL NEURALGIA pain - their entire life. how's THAT for what I think just about now, about this darn headache I've got. Heck, I'm going to a dinner party at a neighbor's house on PERCOCET tonight. {can I get in trouble for including that on my Blog? hope not. the "P" was legally prescribed -- to ME, no less --} GOTTA RUN.