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Hermes ・ by Product Line ・ Kelly

About by Product Line Kelly

The Kelly by Hermes - From impromptu baby bump shield to the ultimate status symbol

Formerly known as Sac à Dépêches, the Kelly is a leather bag designed by the Paris-based, high-fashion luxury goods manufacturer Hermes. Originally a bag used for transporting saddles, it was redesigned several times before being popularized by and then named after American actress and Monégasque princess Grace Kelly. The Kelly is now a lavish status symbol and ranks as one of the most desired handbags in the world. Designed in a gorgeous trapezoid shape and made with the most luxurious leathers and skins available, the Kelly is worn on the arms of celebrities and millionaires all over the world.


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In 1923, Émile-Maurice Hermes and Ettore Bugatti designed a small saddle bag that could double as a simple handbag for Hermes's wife, Julie. In the 1930s, Hermes's son-in-law, Robert Dumas, redesigned it as a spacious travel bag called Sac à Dépêches. The Princess of Monaco, known as Grace Kelly on the silver screen, fell in love with the design and commissioned half a dozen of the bags in various shades. Then one day in 1956, the newlywed used the bag to cover her stomach in an attempt to prevent paparazzi from getting photographic proof of her then-unconfirmed pregnancy. The famed snapshot made the cover of Life magazine and promptly spread like wildfire across the globe. Thanks to the photo, the bag became an overnight celebrity in its own right and consumer demand skyrocketed. Hermes capitalized on this twist of fate by renaming the bag Kelly and offering it in various new shapes, sizes, materials and colors.

The Hermes Kelly comes in two styles: Sellier and Retourne. Each go through different construction processes, resulting in two unique looks. Essentially, Sellier is boxy and structured in comparison to Retourne, which is more relaxed and soft. The Kelly Sellier has visible topstitching along the side seams and lacks Retourne's exterior piping. The corners and edges are sharper, contributing to a more clearly defined shape. After the bag is stitched together, beeswax is applied for protection. The Kelly Retourne has rounder edges and visible piping. During construction, the bag is turned inside out and the stitching is done from the inside of the bag. The flexibility of the leather used for Retourne makes it noticeably easier to pack. The Kelly is sold in eight sizes, ranging from 15 to 50 cm. The construction of each Kelly bag takes 18 to 25 hours. Kelly variations such as the Kelly Lakis, Kelly Shoulder, Kelly Relax and Kelly Cut all draw upon the exceptional skill, passion and creativity of Hermes artisans in Paris, France.

Traditionally, the Hermes Kelly is seen as a formal bag due its meticulous construction and refined design. Even so, there are several ways to wear it, depending on how formal the occasion. One of the most popular methods is to grasp the handle with the clasp undone for easy access to the bag's contents, which emanates an effortless, on-the-go vibe. However, the Kelly bag also comes equipped with a shoulder strap, allowing you to keep your hands free while still maintaining the professional and chic appearance that a Kelly bag provides.