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The Allure of Vintage

Before the early 2000’s vintage was just another name for secondhand – old stuff from your grandmother’s cupboard and out of charity shops.  However in recent years it has become a “big thing” and is now all the rage amongst the fashion pack.  To count as vintage, clothing should be  anything over 25 years old and bags over 10 years.  Vintage style is timeless, whatever your style you can wear a vintage piece and be bang on trend.

32cm Cognac Kelly in Ostrich

Collecting vintage fashion has become a clever and interesting way of investing money, particularly when it comes to luxury bags and Hermès in particular.  Vintage accessories and bags are a very good way to dip your toes in the world of vintage. They are far less intimidating than clothes and still bring great individual style to an everyday outfit or a non-descript black dress.

Saffron Kelly a Dos in Ostrich

The luxury handbag market is very crowded nowadays but Hermès occupies a spot all by itself which makes it the perfect brand for investment;  it ticks all the right boxes.  Sought after? Yes. Exclusive? Yes. Top quality? Yes. Right price tag? Yes.

Reasons why is owning an Hermès bag is worth paying such a premium.

  1. Hermès is still an independent family owned company. They employ artisans and craftsmen that work by hand in a traditional way. It is a level of craftsmanship that is far above any other luxury brand.
  2. Hermès bags hold their value. If you buy a bag and decide you don’t want it anymore as long as you keep it in good condition you should always be able to sell it for at least the price you paid for it and depending on the bag maybe more.
  3. Although most celebrities don’t pay for what they wear they will pay full price or more for an Hermès bag. Even Jane Birkin says she occasionally paid for a bag.
  4. Hermès bags always look expensive. Because of the level of craftsmanship and the fine materials. Vintage, used or new they always give off an air of luxury and refinement.
  5. No-one does colour better than Hermès – their range of colours and shades is unique.
  6. Beyond the choice of colour, and colour mixing there is sizes, hardware, leather textures, exotic skins… Basically the choices are endless and that makes your bag even more special.

32cm Rouge H Kelly in Box Calf Waffle

Last on this list is the easy observation that we can all make. It bags come and go and the luxury handbag market is very overcrowded these days BUT Hermès bags are timeless, they are expensive yes but they look expensive and will keep looking expensive regardless of their age. They are the holy grail of handbags; carrying an Hermès bag simply shows that you have exquisite taste, every single time!

There are several things to bear in mind when you consider investing in a vintage Hermès bag – pick wisely and carefully and you will end up with a beautiful accessory which will give you both pleasure whilst you have it and a financial return should you sell it.

An Hermès bag becomes “vintage” at over 10 years old, but if you buy a younger bag and hold on to it you will end up with a vintage bag eventually, in the meantime you have the pleasure using of your bag!   Trends do not necessarily determine the value of a vintage bag, with Hermès it’s more about limited editions, colours, leathers or sizes that are no longer available.  Unusual leathers are especially desirable.  Condition is also very important, whilst you can take a bag to the Hermès spa, original mint condition is usually preferable to a bag that has been treated.  Check that the bag smells right – yes, really – that the leather is supple and not dry; that there are no marks or discolouration; that the hardware isn’t too scratched and that the key works.

The most important thing of all though is that you like it and will want to wear it.

Remember too, this quote from Cameron Silver,  owner of Decades Vintage in LA:
” It is vintage that sets one apart and creates the mystery in one’s personal style. It is the ultimate in exclusive dressing.”

(with thanks to Helene Ameloot)

35cm Birkin in Saffron Ostrich


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