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Hermès is a French high fashion luxury goods manufacturer established in 1837. It specializes in leather, lifestyle accessories, home furnishings, perfumery, jewellery, watches and ready-to-wear.
Thierry Hermès was born in Krefeld, Germany, to a French father and a German mother. The family moved to France in 1828. In 1837, Hermès first established a harness workshop in the Grands Boulevards quarter of Paris, dedicated to serving European noblemen. He created high-quality wrought harnesses and bridles for the carriage trade, winning several awards including the first prize in its class in 1855 and again in 1867 at the Expositions Universelles in Paris.
Hermès's son, Charles-Émile, took over management from his father in 1880 and moved the shop to 24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where it remains. With the help of his sons Adolphe and Émile-Maurice, Charles-Émile introduced saddlery and started selling his products retail. The company catered to the élite of Europe, North Africa, Russia, Asia, and the Americas. In 1900, the firm offered the Haut à Courroies bag, specially designed for riders to carry their saddles with them.
After Charles-Émile Hermès's retirement, sons Adolphe and Émile-Maurice took leadership and renamed the company Hermès Frères. In 1918, Hermès introduced the first leather golf jacket with a zipper, made for Edward, Prince of Wales. In 1929, the first women's couture apparel collection was previewed in Paris. During the 1930s, Hermès introduced some of its most recognized original goods such as the leather "Sac à dépêches" in 1935 (later renamed the "Kelly bag" after Grace Kelly)Émile-Maurice summarized the Hermès philosophy during his leadership as "leather, sport, and a tradition of refined elegance."
Robert Dumas-Hermès who succeeded Émile-Maurice after his death in 1951, Dumas introduced original handbags, jewelry, and accessories and was particularly interested in design possibilities with the silk scarves. Ironically, during the mid-20th century, scarf production diminished. World Tempus, a Web portal dedicated to watchmaking, states: "Brought to life by the magic wand of Annie Beaumel, the windows of the store on the Faubourg Saint-Honoré became a theatre of enchantment and established the store as a Parisian meeting-place for international celebrities."
In 1956, Life magazine featured a photograph of Grace Kelly, who had become the new Princess of Monaco, carrying the "Sac à dépêches" bag. Purportedly, she held it in front of herself to disguise her pregnancy. Thus, when the public began calling it the "Kelly" bag, a name subsequently adopted by Hermès, it became hugely popular.
Jean-Louis Dumas, the son of Robert Dumas-Hermès, became chairman in 1978 and had the firm concentrate on silk and leather goods and ready-to-wear, adding new product groups to those made with its traditional techniques. Dumas brought in designers Eric Bergère and Bernard Sanz to revamp the apparel collection and, in collaboration, added unusual entries. They included the python motorcycle jackets and ostrich-skin jeans, which were dubbed as "a snazzier version of what Hermès has been all along."
With a history of 180 years, from generation to generation, Hermès has been with exquisite craft and aristocratic design style based on the pinnacle of classic clothing brand. It is luxurious, conservative, noble, from the whole to the details, and then to its specialty stores, are filled with a rich horse-centered deep inside.