Hermes is one of the oldest fashion brands in the world, founded in 1837 in Paris. Today, just like 180 years ago, every Hermes product reflects refined handicrafts and quality that pay homage to this brand’s rich heritage and history.
The founder of the company Thierry Hermes was born on January 10, 1810, in Krefeld, Germany. A French father and a German mother ran a small inn where they raised six children. In time, wars and illnesses took one by one family member, so when he remained the only one in 1821, Thierry left the family home and went to France. The hardworking and talented Thierry quickly learned the craft and, in 1837, opened a workshop for making equestrian equipment, mainly for the needs of European noble families. When his son, Charles-Emile, took over the business in 1880, he moved his father’s shop to 24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, where it is still located today. As only an affluent clientele lived in the area, the enterprising Charles-Emile quickly expanded the market to Europe, North Africa, Russia, Asia, and America. Since 1900, the company has offered the Haut a Courroies (HAC) bag, specially designed for riders used to carry saddles, boots, and hunting equipment.
Emile-Maurice, one of Charles-Emil’s sons, started producing leather accessories and a little later, clothes. Maurice inherited the family company and appointed his three sons-in-law as business partners: Robert Dumas, Jean-Rene Guerrand, and Francis Puchi, expanding their business and writing a new page in the history of this fashion empire. They were the first in France to receive exclusive rights to use Fermeture Hermes, a zipper for leather products and clothing. Hermes introduced the first leather golf jacket with a zipper, made for Prince Edward of Wales, in 1918.
The production of jewelry inspired by equestrian sports began in 1927, and two years later, the first fashion collection for ladies was launched. From the mid-1930s, both Hermes watches for men and women’s Art Deco watches, made of 18K gold, were created. Since 1937, when the production of silk scarves was started, over 2000 unique designs have been created, of which those with horse motifs are incredibly famous and popular. One Hermes scarf is sold in the world every 25 seconds.
Designed initially as a saddlebag, the famous Kelly bag achieved world fame only in the mid-fifties when the renowned actress used it in an attempt to hide her pregnancy from the paparazzi. The picture appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and the rest is history. “Kelly is a rare and precious thing,” it says on the official website, and production is minimal because, as the company says, only a small number of craftsmen have the necessary skills to make them.
The famous Duc-coach and horse logo was launched in 1950.
After the death of Emile-Maurice in 1951, the company’s management was taken over for the first time by someone who was not a direct descendant of Hermes. Robert Dumas was connected to the family through marriage, and to strengthen that connection more, he added his wife’s surname to his, thus becoming Dumas-Hermes. Respecting the house’s tradition, Robert also introduced novelties: the first perfume was launched, and the famous Brides de Gala scarf was made, produced more than 70,000 times.
During the 1970s, the company recorded a decline in sales compared to competitors. Some analysts have seen the cause of this in insisting on the exclusive use of natural materials, unlike others who have long since reoriented themselves to cheaper artificial materials.
When Robert Dumas-Hermes’ son, Jean-Louis Dumas, became president of the company in 1978, he brought designers Eric Bergere and Bernard Sanz to renew the clothing collection.
Python motorcycle jackets and ostrich skinny pants were soon introduced to the market. Customers responded well, so revenues began to grow again. Jean-Louis was also a skilled marketing strategist. In 1979 he launched an advertising campaign featuring an attractive young woman wearing a Hermes scarf. He intended to present the brand to a new set of consumers, primarily the younger ones. Some did not agree with the latest trend, so Dumas’ change of image created revolt and irritated certain family members.
In addition to the still famous Kelly, the Birkin bag was named after the English actress Jane Birkin. In a chance encounter with Jean-Louis Dumas, she complained that her purse was not practical for everyday use, which is why in 1984, a bag was designed especially for her.
Despite market pressure, the company remained true to its traditional business model, refusing to switch to mass production, assembly lines, and mechanization. Hermes goods are almost entirely handmade in France in medium-sized workshops known as Les Ateliers Hermes. It takes 18 to 25 hours of work to produce one bag, so their price is around 6,000 pounds. Despite that, they are so sought after that they are considered a better investment than stock shares. There is only one problem: you have to get them first. They are a real treasure even for a super-rich clientele ready to wait for their delivery from six months to a year.
The controversial French designer, Jean-Paul Gaultier, was appointed chief designer of the house in 2003. The combination of traditional Hermes and the creator known for dressing men in skirts and Madonna in an iconic bra was a real boom in the world of fashion. Wearing Gaultier’s striped sweater tied around the suit, Jean-Louis Dumas vividly described this collaboration for the New York Times as more a love game than a business arrangement.
For me, this cooperation is the realization of everything I have always dreamed of. As a child, I admired Hermes’ luxuries and traditions, said Gaultier, who tied a Hermès tie for the occasion and took off his silver earrings. Gaultier remained at Hermes until 2010 and was the first designer of the younger generation to launch a traditional fashion house into the world of high fashion.
Hermes is also an old perfume house. The first perfumes appeared on the market in the 1950s. The perfume creation of the magical Edmond Roudnitska was intended for women and men and was called Eau d’Hermes. In 1961, another famous perfumer, Guy Robert, signed the first Hermes fragrance for women – Caleche. This is an extremely feminine woody floral fragrance, whose name speaks of horse-drawn carriages, which are the house’s emblem. Caleche dazzles with the beauty of its composition: from citrus fruits to modern aldehyde notes, from a floral heart decorated with ylang-ylang, rose and jasmine to woody tones underlined by the nobility and elegance of the iris.
In 1970, another classic came on the scene – Equipage, a masculine aristocratic fragrance well known to all true perfume lovers.
Jean Claude Ellena became the company’s leading perfumer in 2004, and with his arrival, a new Hermes fragrant era began.
Eau des Merveilles, or Miraculous Water, is a magical, seductive, feminine, and elegant perfume. Launched in 2004, Eau des Merveilles opens with fresh notes of orange and lemon. At the heart of this luxurious and luxurious perfume are amber, pink pepper, violet, and Indonesian pepper. In contrast, the fragrance base consists of a mixture of fir, moss, cedar, Peru balm, and vetiver.
After a decade of perfumes that mostly had a sweet note, the French house in 2016 presented the new perfume’s vital energy. Galop d’Hermes, a fragrance that many perceive as a classic is the creation of the famous Christine Nagel. Inspired by her love for horses, this is one of her best fragrant designs. All the elements that make up this perfume make it unique and exclusive, which was more than enough to immediately reach the center of attention of all fans of high perfumery.
Terre d’Hermes was introduced in 2006 as an elegant men’s fragrance based on the harmony of air and earth. Its creator is the main “nose” of Hermes, Jean-Claude Ellena. Terre opens with clean and fresh citrus notes, a combination of grapefruit and orange. The heart of the perfume is the megadose of iso e super, which has a woody scent with amber subtones, which gives it excellent durability and projectivity. This is one of the most sought after and best-selling Hermes perfumes in France for years.
Jean-Claude Ellena wanted to emphasize the essence of femininity through the fragrant composition of citrus and white flowers in the perfume Jour d’Hermes launched in 2013. The next year, a more advanced version of Jour d’Hermes Absolu was released, with only blooms in the composition. Absolu offers the perfect harmony of creamy white gardenia, fresh and noble Sambac jasmine, sweet honey, and romantic apricot blossom. Femininity in perfume form – a woman’s celebration, every day, over and over again.
Yet the most expensive fragrance Hermes 24 Faubourg, was launched back in 1995. This fragrant creation, which they describe as an invitation to travel, was signed by Maurice Roucel with the sun as a destination. The composition of white flowers in the top notes, wrapped in iris and wood in the heart, and aphrodisiac vanilla and ambergris in the base, the company launched in just 1,000 beautiful bottles made from St. Louis crystals. The perfume costs as much as 1,500 USD, and at the same time, this is one of the 10 most expensive perfumes in the world.
Last year, Hermes took 33rd place on Forbes’ list of the world’s most valuable brands. I don’t know about the Forbes list, but Hermes is one of the top five most precious houses to me as a perfume lover.
List of Hermes perfumes. Perfume reviews are marked in blue.
- 24, Faubourg Eau de Parfum (1995)
- 24, Faubourg Eau de Toilette
- 24, Faubourg Eau Délicate (2003)
- 24, Faubourg Extrait de Parfum (1995)
- Amazone (new)(1993)
- Amazone (original) (1974)
- Amazone Eau de Fraîcheur (1993)
- Aroma d’Orange Verte (2004)
- Bel Ami (1986)
- Bel Ami Vetiver (2013)
- Calèche Eau de Toilette (1961)
- Calèche Eau Délicate (2003)
- Caleche Extrait de Parfum (2008)
- Calèche Fleurs de Méditerranée (2003)
- Calèche Soie de Parfum (1992)
- Concentré D’Orange Verte (2004)
- Concentré de Pamplemousse Rose (2011)
- Doblis (new) (2004)
- Doblis (original) (1955)
- Eau Claire des Merveilles (2010)
- Eau d’Hermès (1951)
- Eau d’Orange Douce (2005)
- Eau d’Orange Verte (1979)
- Eau de Citron Noir (2018)
- Eau de Gentiane Blanche (2009)
- Eau de Ginza (2006)
- Eau de Mandarine Ambrée(2013)
- Eau de Narcisse Bleu (2013)
- Eau de Néroli Doré (2016)
- Eau de Pamplemousse Rose (2009)
- Eau de Rhubarbe Écarlate (2016)
- Eau de Rhubarbe Écarlate (2016)
- Eau des Merveilles (2004)
- Eau des Merveilles Au Bal des Etoiles (2012)
- Eau des Merveilles Bleue (2017)
- Elixir des Merveilles (2006)
- Équipage (1970)
- Equipage Géranium (2015)
- Galop d’Hermès (2016)
- Hermèssence Agar Ebène (2018)
- Hermèssence Ambre Narguilé (2004)
- Hermèssence Brin de Réglisse (2007)
- Hermèssence Cardamusc (2018)
- Hermèssence Cèdre Sambac (2018)
- Hermèssence Cuir d’Ange (2014)
- Hermèssence Épice Marine (2013)
- Hermessence Iris Ukiyoé (2010)
- Hermèssence Muguet Porcelain (2016)
- Hermèssence Musc Pallida (2018)
- Hermèssence Myrrhe Églantine (2018)
- Hermèssence Osmanthe Yunnan (2005)
- Hermèssence Paprika Brasil (2006)
- Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande (2004)
- Hermèssence Rose Ikebana (2004)
- Hermèssence Santal Massoïa (2011)
- Hermèssence Vanille Galante (2009)
- Hermèssence Vétiver Tonka (2004)
- Hiris (1999)
- Jour d’Hermès (2012)
- Jour d’Hermès Absolu (2014)
- Jour d’Hermès Extrait de Parfum (2013)
- Jour d’Hermès Gardénia (2015)
- Kelly Calèche Eau de Parfum (2009)
- Kelly Calèche Eau de Toilette (2007)
- Kelly Calèche Parfum (2008)
- L’Ambre des Merveilles (2012)
- L’Ombre des Merveilles (2020)
- Le Jardin de Monsieur Li (2015)
- Parfum d’Hermès (1984)
- Parfum des Merveilles (2005)
- Rocabar (1998)
- Rose Amazone (2014)
- Rouge Eau Délicate (2003)
- Rouge Hermès (2000)
- Terre d’Hermès (2006)
- Terre d’Hermès Eau Intense Vétiver (2018)
- Terre d’Hermès Eau Très Fraîche (2014)
- Terre d’Hermès Parfum (2009)
- Twilly d’Hermès (2017)
- Twilly d’Hermès Eau Poivrée (2019)
- Un Jardin Après La Mousson (2008)
- Un Jardin en Méditerranée (2003)
- Un Jardin sur la Lagune (2019)
- Un Jardin sur le Nil (2005)
- Un Jardin Sur Le Toit (2011)
- Voyage d’Hermès (2010)
- Voyage d’Hermes Parfum (2012)