Hermès History: A Voyage of Heritage & Artisans Designs

Rooted in tradition, heritage, and family pride of 6 generations, Hermès is a legendary fashion house known for its craftsmanship, sophistication, and iconic stature. The once saddlery leader and equestrian product manufacturer is now one of the most well-known luxury investment brands in the world, with a legacy that spans over three centuries. With an unwavering dedication to craft savoir-faire, entrepreneurial insignia, and responsiveness to the changing needs of its clientele, the French house has stayed true to its distinctive allure with collections that traverse generations. Hermès has undoubtedly progressed over the years and remains a totem of opulence that stands the test of time.

Read on as we delve further into the history of Hermès and its timeless creations, from high- end equestrian beauties to Hermès’ first silk scarf, Hermès’ luxury handbags, the birth of the Kelly bag, and beyond.

History of Hermès: A Timeline

Equestrian Beginnings: Thierry Hermès Founding the Luxury Fashion Powerhouse

It all started when Thierry Hermès established Hermès as a harness workshop in Paris in 1837. His high-end saddles and harnesses presented eloquent artistry and expertise to the upper- class elites of European society back then. The brand started gaining recognition and was awarded the First Class medal at the Expositions Universelles in Paris more than once.

Hermès Passed Down and Enriched by Its Successors

After Thierry Hermès passed in 1878, his son Charles-Émile Hermès took the rein and opened a store at an address that has remained to this day; 24 Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Later in 1922, Charles’ sons Émile-Maurice and Adolphe took management of the label and began introducing leather goods to their line of products.

With an openness to the era lifestyle and the innovative spirit of the sons’ leadership, Hermès created its first ready-to-wear collection and a line of jewelry and watches followed.

In 1937, “Jeu des omnibus et dames blanches”, the first Hermès silk scarf, was born, marking the beginning of the Hermès scarf history and mystique carried on by Émile’s son-in-law, Robert Dumas.

From the First Silk Scarf to the Kelly: Robert Dumas’ Fingerprint

Taking over in 1951, Robert Dumas was a source of creativity and innovation in the timeline of Hermès. His contribution marked not only the birth of the first silk scarf, but also the “Chaîne d’ancre” Hermès bracelet and the Hermès Kelly bag, which is one of the house’s most emblematic bags in the history of luxury fashion to date.

The Kelly bag history began in 1930 when it was first designed and later revolutionized in 1956; Grace Kelly was photographed using the bag as a shield and hence gained its name as a tribute to the princess of Monaco. The bag was formerly called the “Sac a depeches” bag and it was a staple satchel bag in every must-have men’s bag collection. The Kelly bag marked the brand’s crescendo into the supreme luxury fashion landscape as the label started achieving commercial success from that point onward.

La Montre Hermès and the Hermès Birkin with Jean-Louis Dumas

When Jean-Louis Dumas was assigned the label’s leadership, he began introducing new waves of creation and success with his inquisitive perception. From making a debut in the world of watchmaking under the name La Montre Hermès in 1978 to redirecting the brand into consolidating the ready-to-wear, silk scarves and leather goods essential production lines to expanding into the field of shoe manufacturing.

Along came the encounter that changed everything and marked the start of the Birkin bag history. Jean-Louis Dumas was seated by chance next to actress and singer Jane Birkin, who expressed her frustration about how hard it is to find a handbag that was comfortable and secure, leading to the perfect bag design outlined on a napkin that birthed the aptly named, the Hermès Birkin bag, one of the most coveted investment luxury bags to date.

In 1992, the fashion house expanded into a new workspace reinvigorating creativity and new artistic visions for the artisans, and in 2000, Hermès opened a series of stores internationally.

Sixth Generation-Executives Receive the Hermès Torch

Following Jean-Louis Dumas’ retirement, his son Pierre-Alexis Dumas became Artistic Director of the Maison and transported Hermès into the 21st century with even more creative visionary. From the first Haute Bijouterie line, Hermès jewelry, in 2010 to launching home décor and wallpapers, the brand had taken a new direction with new métiers, expanding on its know-how and aesthetic values.

Axel Dumas, nephew of Pierre-Alexis Dumas, was appointed the brand’s directorship and later, the “Petit h” collection was launched under the leadership of Pascale Mussard with sustainability and planet solidarity at its heart, building on the new wave elements that fall nothing short of the brand’s rounded heritage and luxury. He had also paved the way for Hermès to step into the technological era, solidifying the brand’s relevancy to a more connected audience.

Perpetual Growth with Firmly Planted Roots

Hermès continued expanding its lines all the way to 2020 when the Maison decided to venture into Beauty with the collection “Rouge Hermès” and assert its legendary craftsmanship by creating the apprenticeship training school, “École Hermès des Savoir- Faire”, in 2021.

The luxury Maison remains one of the most coveted labels with artistic evolution that is a testament to the brand’s continued long line of heritage.

Authentic, Pre-owned Hermès

As collectible as luxury brands come, Hermès' lines of luxury handbags, jewelry and accessories are famous for their exclusivity, long waiting lists and limited distribution; this is due to the fact that they are handmade with few artisans dedicated to the hours-long manufacturing process of each single piece alone.

To shop for authentic Hermès products, browse a curated range of meticulously-picked Hermès gems that are hard to find as new, and valuable in their pre-loved condition, from pre-owned Hermès bags to rare, pre-loved Hermès scarves, secondhand Hermès watches, bracelets and more at WGACA online.

Explore our collectible Hermès pick listing where we factor in history, rarity and know-how hallmarks of the luxury fashion house.

Historic Hermès: From Hermès Handbags to Hermès Scarves


When you’re looking for a classic and rare edition of the Hermès Birkin, nothing suffices like this version in Rose Shocking pink and luxe Jonathan leather. Whether you’d like to upgrade your spring wardrobe or add to your staple Hermès collectibles, this Hermès Birkin handbag will check all the boxes.


The Hermès Constance is known for its sophistication and infinite opulence, and this Hermès shoulder bag version in Blue Marine navy corduroy and signature H-shaped gold hardware only adds to the sleekness and glamour of the luxury Constance bag.

The Hermès Constance history dates back to 1959 when designer Catherine Chaillet named the bag after her newborn, Constance, who was delivered on the same day as the bag’s production.

Rare and exclusive, shop this ultra-chic Hermès bag, pre-loved at WGACA, and refine your ensembles with an elegant, compact silhouette.


An ode to a symbol that is cherished by the house, discover this horse-head gold Hermès bracelet that encompasses everything Hermès is about. Collecting this exquisite vintage Hermès jewelry is the perfect way of paying homage to the luxury house’s equestrian roots and historically illustrious beginnings.


“Belles Du Mexique”; the beautiful dancing ladies of Mexico, is a collectible statement Hermès silk scarf by the Maison that conjures the brand’s artistry and evident craftsmanship executed by designer Virginie Jamin.


This pre-owned Hermès Birkin in iconic bright coral hue perfectly reflects the lively and free spirit persistent in all the house’s collections that only serious Hermès collectors know. Depicting the color of the sunset, the top-handle bag is perfect year-round but especially gorgeous in these transitional seasons.


The Hermès H watch is a bold Hermès timepiece model that’s imbued in the powerhouse’s craftsmanship and timeless prestige. Unearth this vintage Hermès watch amongst a range of the house’s rare luxury timepieces, pre-owned and well-loved at WGACA.


Hermès Evelyne bags are timeless staple pieces by the luxury house with a rather emblematic and equestrian inception. The Hermès Evelyne history begins when it was originally designed as a carryall crossbody bag for horse grooming equipment. The bag was named after its 1978 head of Hermès’ riding department, Evelyne Betrard, as she and the team birthed a simple yet functional silhouette with a perforated H for aeration in a horse- shoe oval shape.

Shop this beautiful red Hermès Evelyne if you’re looking for an everyday bag that’s more functional than the Birkin, but still brims with the label’s cavalier legacy.


Uncover yet another vibrant Hermès “L’Ivresse De l’Infini” silk scarf that is executed with artisanal know-how and utter finesse.

Build or add to your capsule wardrobe with this statement vintage Hermès scarf, wear tied around your neck or overhead with a neutral color ensemble, or simply own for the pleasure of collecting this exceptional abstract artwork.


The Hermès Kelly Retourne devotees love the handbag for its hands-free utilitarian feature and its softer structure as opposed to the more structured Hermès Kelly Sellier. Growing in value with a double-digit increase rate year after year, the perfect historical, collectible and luxury investment bsg is combined in one timeless silhouette.

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