Hermès, the name has become synonymous with luxury leather handbags but it was founded by Thierry Hermès in Paris in 1837, as a house of master harness-making and later saddle-making. Over six generations they have evolved and their enterprising artisans have acquired new skills and created new products for different markets. However, their command on leather as a material has been unparalleled as it has been the basis on which most of their products have been built. To celebrate their 175th anniversary they are paying homage to the material with a major new exhibition in the galleries at 6 Burlington Gardens called the ‘Hermès Leather Forever’.
The exhibition has been designed and curated to project Hermès’ love of this fine material, leather. On display are some of the finest items from Hermès’ past including the ones commissioned by the Duke of Windsor for his Duchess along with some of their latest creations that show the levels of creativity their designers and artisans have achieved over a century and more. Some of their finest craftspeople from their workshop in Paris will be present at the exhibition and will demonstrate in front of the visitors the art of leather working. The visitors will be able to actually see the creation of some of their works live on the spot.
The exhibition that is scheduled to run through May 27 is spread 12 rooms of the gallery. The highlights of the exhibition are two most iconic Hermès bags: the Kelly, named after Princess Grace, and the Birkin, created for Jane Birkin, who wanted a bag big enough to fit all her possessions. With the aim of paying tribute to Great Britain Hermès has created for the event four specially-designed Passe-Guide Hermès handbags for each British nation – Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. Christie’s will auction all the four bags online between May 14 and May 31 and the proceeds will go to the benefit of Royal Academy of Arts.