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The Heavenly Handbag

Out of all of those luxury Hermes bags, which is right for you?

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and buy an Hermès bag for the first time, but you’re not sure where to start.  We thought we’d share some of the years of experience we have at Lilac Blue London in helping our clients select their perfect bag and take you through those essential considerations before you set out to find the right one.

As a first time buyer you need to decide what it is you are looking for from your bag – whether it is to be worn every day – for work or lunching, in the evenings or on special occasions only; do you want to wear it with lots of different outfits or one or two?  What size, which leather and perhaps most importantly the colour, all need to be considered too.

Birkin or Kelly?  To the uninitiated and at a first glance they may look similar but they’re not, obviously both beautiful, but with different attributes which you need to consider before choosing which is right for you, or just buy one of each!

The Birkin is a great everyday bag:  popular with working women, it has enough size to carry serious paperwork and personal paraphernalia.  BEWARE however of the way of carrying the Birkin, it won’t fit over your shoulder, it must be worn (and boy does it look chic) on your forearm.

The Kelly is a more formal bag, and tends to be bought by women who already have an Hermès bag.  There are two models:  the more structured Sellier, with the stitching on the outside, or the newer, more contemporary version called the Retourne which is stitched internally, it has a more upright shape and one handle as opposed to two and comes with a shoulder strap.   This bag is actually created inside out, and the craftsmen then turn it over, so it has to have a certain looseness to the leather stitching.  The Kelly is slightly smaller than the Birkin, but has the winning practicality of the shoulder strap.

The signature Hermès Orange: a 28cm Kelly in Togo Leather with Silver Hardware

Both Birkins and Kellies come in a variety of sizes from the petite 25cm up to 40cm and then the large travel bags.  The most popular are the mid-sized bags – 30cm to 35cm.  Which one you choose really depends on what you want the bag to do for you –  32cm to 35cm are great day bags which can carry the usual everyday essentials such as your wallet, phone, make up, keys, sunglasses, notepad etc without looking overfull and bulky.  A 28cm or 30cm bag can hold slightly fewer items;  wallet, phone, makeup and keys but the great thing about this size is that it is small enough to wear to an evening function as well.  If you are a regular traveller a 40cm Birkin is perfect – it can take whatever you need for a flight or long journey without being too big and heavy.

Last but not least, don’t forget to pick the bag that works with your size and body shape – a tiny bag will be lost if you are tall and likewise a larger bag will dwarf a petite person.  If you have curves, a larger bag will flatter them, and if you are small, a smaller bag will look well in proportion.  Try lots of bags so that you can find the shape and style that suits you best.  And don’t forget that for  evening and day functions a small bag will look more elegant.


Togo Leather in Crevette; Taurillon Clemence in Gris Perle; Epsom Leather in Gold

Hermes bags come in several different calf leathers and exotic skins.  The most popular of the calf leathers is the Togo: natural bull calf leather with a beautiful pebble finish and a scratch resistant grain; the next is Taurillon Clemence:  a softer and slightly thicker natural bull calf leather  with a more matte appearance;  Epsom: a lightweight and sturdy leather which holds its shape well but is not as resistant.

A trio of Exotics. From the back: Himalaya Birkin in Shiny Crocodile, Saffron Birkin in Ostrich and Fauve Barenia Birkin in Matte Alligator

If you are splashing out there are several Exotic skins including Nilocitus and Porosus Crocodile, Alligator, Lizard and Ostrich – they are extraordinary, beautiful, expensive and usually more of a collector’s item.


Three classic “wear with anything” colours: Etoupe, Gold and Black

Hermès are renowned for their fabulous colours and have the most sophisticated tanners of all the luxury brands.  Each season new shades with some enticing, some rather bewildering names are introduced – this season we have seen Malachite, Bamboo, Anenome, Ultraviolet and Flamingo Pink – alongside the more established colours like Black, Etoupe, Gold, Blue Jean, and the signature Hermès Orange.

If you are looking for a bag to match a special occasion outfit then you’ll easily find the colour you need, however if you want one  that will not date and can be worn regularly, then your best bet is one of the classic colours – Black and Gold are particularly good, and Etoupe which is a brown/grey shade is another  versatile colour.

To update or change the appearance of your bag, try the clever Asian trend of tying a silk twilly around the handles.  They will protect it and add a completely new look.  One little point to bear in mind when choosing a colour: as a general rule a lighter colour will make the bag look larger.

Armed with all this information, you are now ready to find the perfect bag – if you are looking for an Hermès Birkin, Kelly or any other Hermès bag such as a Constance, Evelyne or Lindy, we’d like to help you find the perfect match.


Arm Candy

Bracelets can document and represent special occasions in our lives, or just liven up an outfit on a gloomy day.  Either way, Hermes have several which are great for marking a life changing event or accessorising an outfit.  The “arm party” trend, first coined over three years ago by fashion blogger Leander Medrine is still going strong and shows no sign of losing its’ appeal, Hermes bracelets are perfect for this too.

A cuff is a great place to start if you are stacking bracelets, and is just as striking when worn individually – it can really stand out and complement  an outfit.  If you want a chunky and “look at me” bracelet how about the Collier De Chien?  Measuring  2.75″ &  3″ in diameter for men and 2.25″ and 2.75″ for women it is a beautifully distinctive piece.  Introduced in the 1940’s and originally designed as a collar for a client’s bulldog it has an adjustable turn lock clasp and four pyramid studs.  Available in  several different leathers including  calfskin, alligator, lizard, suede and crocodile (and silver) and many of the iconic

Fauve Kelly Dog Extreme

Hermes colours there is one out there for you, however you want to wear it.

On a similar theme, with a large hardware plaque decorated with no fewer than 6 studs the Kelly Dog Extreme is another great piece of statement jewellery, available in several  permutations: different leathers, different colours and different hardware finishes, from palladium to gold and permabrass, which is a slightly softer gold.   If you feel this might be a little over the top or overpowering, then  a slightly more discreet version, the Kelly Dog, which features a turn lock clasp and no studs may be the one for you.

If you’re looking for something completely different and a little more along the lines of a traditional bracelet then try the Hermes Clic.  This comes in three different widths, with an enamel band in an array of vibrant Hermes colours and features the Hermes H in either gold or palladium as the clasp.  They are so alluring that it’s quite possible you’ll find that one is just not enough!

Clic Clac H in Sun Yellow; Clic H in Midnight Blue; Clic H in Emerald
(Photos Courtesy of Hermes)





Whilst browsing Pinterest recently for items to pin to our “Things We Like At Lilac Blue London” board, I came across this amazing creation from Hermès.  A miniature Hermès Kelly in Rose Gold and studded with diamonds.

Designed by Pierre Hardy for his Haute Bijouterie collection and first seen in 2012, Hermès have taken the iconic Kelly bag to another level and turned it into the ultimate luxury item.  Only three of these bags have been produced,  each one two years in the making.  Made from solid rose gold moulded to look like crocodile skin and embellished with 1160 diamonds, the bag can be carried or worn as a bracelet and it opens fully – although it is so small you’d be pushed to fit much more than a lipstick or set of keys in!

If you are a collector of Hermès bags, then this extraordinary piece is bound to catch your eye, whether you can get hold of one is another matter altogether – and with a price tag of almost $2 million you may just have to be satisfied with looking at pictures of it.


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