Written by Paige Rubin, Edited by Kate Friedman
The Hermes ‘Quelle Idole,’ more popularly known as Kelly Doll, was designed and produced in 2000 by Jean-Louis Dumas himself. This limited edition style has since been discontinued, but it pops back up from time to time for boutique openings, brand celebrations, and (very rarely) on the resale market.
From a thematic standpoint, the Kelly Doll bag signifies Hermes’ sense of play, which underscores everything they do as a company. Although the staid and classic feel of the majority of their offerings would give the impression that the brand is very self serious, Hermes’ brand ethos inserts whimsical details into their product in many ways. From scarf prints that convey horses as superheroes or as actors receiving awards, to the entire Petit H line which repurposes cast-off materials into fantastical objects like decorative mobiles or exquisitely crafted life-size horse figurines—the brand’s playful elements are always apparent if you look closely.
The Kelly Doll, with its bendable arms and leather inset smile, is perhaps the best example of this wry sense of humor. Even its name is a pun! Kelly Doll plays off “Quelle Idole,” an expression which in French translates to “what a doll!” In many ways, the bag’s little smirk can be thought to represent the house’s attitudes towards their creations: outwardly serious but imbued with a sly wink.