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Investing in Hermes

Luxury items are increasingly seen as an investment vehicle and Hermes handbags are no exception; for several years they have featured in the Knight Frank Wealth Report and this year it seem the Hermes Birkin has outperformed the FTSE 100 index.

Three years ago in Miami a handbag sold for $298,000 (approximately £205,000).  A simple handbag.  Hailed as the most expensive handbag ever to sell, it was a Hermes Birkin made in bright red shiny crocodile with white gold straps encrusted with 10 carats of diamonds.    It was purchased in 2008 for half the price but never worn.    What was once considered an attractive accessory has turned into one of the world’s most lucrative investments.     Even ten years into the phenomenon, the trend continues to amaze people.

There are a number of reasons for the phenomenon.   If you consider other relatively new investment vehicles – wine, watches, and classic cars – they are all now accepted as alternative investment pieces, and are often highly profitable.   Now the once modest handbag has joined the club of these ‘passion assets’.  In general, they have become worthy investments through finite supply:  like a bottle of Romanee Conti or a limited edition Patek Philippe.    And as the world moves to more highly automated systems and machine-made goods, an awareness of the higher quality of handmade products has emerged.

The prices of classic cars started to rise in the 1990s.  An appreciation of the highly skilled workmanship, coupled with the romance and challenge of the gearstick, started to appeal to North American and then to European markets.   Cars outperformed the global stock market between 2005 and 2016.  Just this year, the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti sold for a record breaking £24.7m.

The story is similar these days with vintage bags.  On a smaller, more manageable scale.


Mrs Thompson in Battersea, London, hadn’t worn her 1985 Hermes Kelly in ostrich leather more than twice.   Clearing through her wardrobe one rainy November afternoon she came across it and approached Lilac Blue London to value and sell it.   We estimate the bag cost her £550 in 1985.    It has just been sold at £12,000.

Or Mrs Mills in Suffolk, who had a collection of Hermes handbags bought in Las Vegas in 2000.  Her 35cm black crocodile Kelly has just gone on the market at £17,000.  The cost 16 years ago would have been approximately £5,000.

As the Times London explained: “Consider the following: in the 35 years since it was created, the value of the Hermes Birkin has gone up by 500 percent. That’s a better return on investment than gold or the stock market…. Why has this happened? In a nutshell, because even if you can afford them, they’re incredibly difficult to buy.”

In essence the bag itself has become a loved and cherished item, and at the same time handbags have become status symbols.  So combined together, these factors have turned an everyday accessory into a powerful investment piece.

So while older and vintage bags can be sold at high prices, New Hermes Birkin and Kelly bags sell at a premium of up to 100% because buying them is a serious challenge.   There are no more waiting lists in the UK: Hermes could not deal with the queues waiting outside the Bond Street store on the days the waiting list would open.   So to buy a bag takes serious application, patience, and expenditure on other goods in the store, and as a result, it becomes extremely desirable.

Then there is the new phenomenon of the handbag as a status symbol.

Historically, Europeans would buy one lovely handbag on a very special occasion.     So a lady had one or perhaps two luxurious handbags that she could hand down.    European royalty collected handbags: the Queen has a wonderful collection of Launer handbags.  But mere mortals would only have a few pieces.    Then, over the last 20 years, the popularity of handbags has grown in general, and as Hollywood A-listers started building collections of Hermes and Chanel bags, it became acceptable for well-heeled ladies to build collections of their most cherished accessories, and Hermes is at the very top of the list of luxury houses.

The Mastery of Hermes

How has Hermes managed to stay at the top, in creating the most desired handbag the world has ever known?   There is no doubt that this was never planned.  In no time in fashion history has a handbag achieved such status. But Hermes has harnessed and managed the situation extraordinarily well.   In order to increase the desirability of the bags, the iconic French brand limits the production of certain models.  They claim that only the finest artisans are able to create the Kelly and Birkin handbags, and with each bag taking up to 25 hours to make, they are unable to keep up with the demand.  With resellers selling the bags at vast premiums, Hermes is able to increase prices year on year, up to 10% per annum.  The classic Birkin 35cm is now just over £7,000 in a Hermes boutique.

What must not be overlooked is that this phenomenon could never have taken place without the creation of extremely beautiful products.   The style of Hermes bags is generally classic: the Kelly is a relatively formal bag which works extremely well at formal occasions.   The Birkin is a more practical piece; the size 35cm can hold enormous amounts (I have carried a laptop, travel documents and an ipad in one) but has no shoulder strap.

The handbags are created with the best leathers, in the best tanneries, and in a range of colours that no other luxury house can begin to achieve.    This bleu paradis limited edition Kelly from 2016 is one of 8 different shades of blue produced by Hermes in the last 5 years.

How to get your hands on one

If you are looking to buy a bag, first you should try your nearest Hermes boutique.  If you look beautiful and elegant enough, you may be given the chance to buy directly, if there happens to be one available.  If you would rather be able to choose the size, colour and leather, you might want to try a reseller.  Just make sure they are reputable and you can meet them before sending any funds. To buy a bag for an investment, see our article How To Choose an Investment Piece.

Please see also:

The Times Newspaper, March 2020
The Times Newspaper, February 2018
The Times Newspaper, January 2016

 

Hermes Birkin 35cm in Black & Fuschia, Shiny Croc with Ruthenium Hardware

Customise Your Bags

Customise Your Bags with Rocky Mazzilli & Janan Studio

Handbag customisation is the ultimate way to express your style and personality whilst extending the life of one of your favourite designer handbags.

Here at Lilac Blue London, we can introduce you to incredible handbag customisation specialists that can transform your handbag into a truly special piece that is completely exclusive to you.

Rocky Mazzilli

If you are looking for a one of a kind, bespoke hand painted style, Rocky Mazzilli from Year Zero London has worked with Lilac Blue London for many years and will ensure that your design ideas, no matter how elaborate, will come to life.

Started eight years ago by the Mazzilli family including Louise, Tatum and Rocky, this free-spirited independent brand is one of London’s best kept creative secrets.

Frequented by international mega stars such as; Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Will.I.Am, Lana Del Ray, Jason Derulo, Cara Delevigne , Rita Ora and Pharell to name a few, we can assure you that your luxury piece is in safe hands.   Recently Rocky has worked with Xupes on two Louis Vuitton pieces for Kylie Jenner and her daughter Stormi – read the full article here.

Lilac Blue London can arrange for Year Zero London to create a totally unique experience by offering you a bespoke customisation and hand painting service that can be used on everything from Louis Vuitton to Hermès Birkins and other luxury styles.

Not only can we help your design ideas come to life so your bag is completely bespoke, we will arrange for you to meet the artists behind the creations so you can become part of the design process.

If you are looking to transform your latest handbag into a masterpiece with excellent attention to detail, get in touch with the Lilac Blue London team on+44 845 224 8876 or email info@lilacblue.com for more information.

 

 

Janan Studio

Janan Shihadeh, founder of Janan Studio, is a Palestinian born mural artist who specialises in customising bespoke designer vintage and new handbags in partnership with Lilac Blue London.

Educated in the United States and UK, Janan lives in Dubai and has a clientele around the world who look to her for unique handbag and luggage customisation, bespoke murals, painted furniture pieces and much more.

Janan paints everything from Chanel and Hermès handbags and has been featured in fashion publications such as Harper’s Bazaar for her exceptional works of art.

From detailed floral designs to more animated cartoon styles, Janan can turn any idea into reality.

If you love Janan’s style of work and you would like some direction to bring your personal design ideas to life, contact the Lilac Blue London team on+44 845 224 8876 or email info@lilacblue.com and we will be delighted to introduce you to Janan and work with you on your latest customisation ideas.

The return of the Hermès Kelly Danse

The Kelly Danse is a small clutch bag designed to be worn cross body, around the waist, or as a back pack. It has just been re-released by Hermès to great excitement.   The desirability of this versatile little number is a great example of well-considered product marketing. It is something very few brands can afford to do and manage well.  This is what has happened: Hermès released the bag more than a decade ago, in small quantities, when the style and size was not at the height of fashion.  They then discontinued it, just as people began to understand its value.  This fuelled the bag’s desirability among a small following, and enhanced the brand image.  Years later, in autumn 2019, now the style has become fashionable, Hermès has re-released the piece, and voila, they have created a new bag which already has an eager audience.  And because it was designed before, Hermès can maintain its claim to not be influenced by trends.  As an added bonus, Hermès has attracted a new customer, a younger one, who follows seasonal trends, which is a new dimension in Hermès’ usual conservative  retail space.  Welcome back, the Kelly Danse!

Here is the Gris Perle Hermès Kelly Danse which we received yesterday.

The History of the Kelly Danse
The original Hermès Kelly Danse was released in 2007, in soft Swift leather, and discontinued in 2013.  It was a casual version of the Kelly Pochette, in softer leather, without the top handle, and with a long strap.  It never achieved the iconic status of the Kelly Pochette and was aimed at a younger market.  We love the name: it must be the only handbag Hermès has produced whose name hints at functionality: young ladies could dance while wearing a cross body handbag, which at that time was unheard of  in high fashion.

The Lilac Blue experience
We sold a handful of these bags between 2009 and 2012. Not many people knew of them and they were extremely casual for an Hermès design.  At this time the Kelly Pochette and Kelly Cut clutch bags were popular, but only amongst the serious Hermès cognoscenti.

Then just as Hermès stopped making the bag a number of our Kuwaiti clients – ladies from Kuwaiti high society were some of the first serious collectors of Hermès Birkins and Kellies – started asking for the Kelly Danse. Their girls could wear the bag cross body and they understood its chic yet practical design.
We had a Blue Jean one in stock for a few days in 2014. Then we had a terrible theft, of the Kelly Danse and four larger Kellies and Birkins. We tracked the bags
across London, and got most of them back, but the Kelly Danse had already been sold on, within a day!

Fast forward to 2019 and the world is going mad for small bags worn cross-body. And rucksacks. This bag meets both demands. It can also be worn as a bum bag, or fanny pack. But as you may know, Lilac Blue has never come to terms with the bum bag… the very name shrieks style disaster….

Parchemin Kelly Danse. Image courtesy of Xupes

The Kelly Danse original was 17 x 22 x 7cm with one strap which could be work single 63cm or doubled at 33cm.

The Kelly Danse II is the same dimensions, with a longer strap. It can now also be worn as a rucksack, or around the waist, if you really must.

The Danse Kelly was initially made in Swift leather – a smooth pliable leather suited to small accessories. Handbag buyers don’t like this leather, because it looks delicate and smooth on larger items, so Hermès has changed to the more resilient Evercolor. The Kelly Danse II appeared in July 2019, and we are currently only seeing it in natural colours such as Gris Perle and Etoupe.  As Hermès has concentrated the last few years on bright new hues, this may be a welcome return to neutral shades, at least for A/W 2019.

The price in Europe is €4,900 Euros, in the US approximately $7,000 USD – if you are lucky enough to be invited to purchase one. The price on the resale market looks set to be around €12,000, or £12,000 here in the UK.  This may change according to supply and demand.

Lilac Blue London has some pre-loved Kelly Danse bags from 2008 to 2012 in excellent condition in Black; Rose Dragee; and Jaune d’Or:

and new ones just arriving here.

Editorial Comment and Recommendations

Was the creation of the Kelly Danse and Kelly Danse II really part of a 12 year product marketing strategy? Did Hermès really tease us in 2008-12 with this bag, knowing that the market for very small bags would burgeon and explode in 2018? Almost certainly not. Hermès is extremely lucky to be able to release this bag right now: its launch in 2008 might be called ill-timed, the design ill-conceived. What is clear however is that Hermès has maintained its position at the very top of the luxury handbag market over the last decade, a decade which has seen exponential growth, investment and inflation in luxury accessories. Never before have so many women, across so many continents, coveted a Hermès handbag. So to have created a bag in 2008 which becomes highly desirable ten years later, and more importantly one which you can effortlessly re-release, is a stroke of good fortune and not a strategic stroke of genius. But having been dealt this amazing deck of cards, Hermès plays them unusually well. Arguably better than any other luxury brand.  This is why:

The last six months – Summer and Autumn of 2019 – has brought a frenzy of desire for an Hermès bag.  The last time the market was this alive with desire
and super inflated prices was 2012. The bag? The Mini Kelly II. Requests for the bag come from all corners of the world, every day. Prices for this Mini Kelly II 20cm have reached way beyond 100% above the retail price, and are currently – November 2019 – around £14,000 for a Black Mini Kelly. (Please be VERY careful if you are offered one for less than £11,000, please contact us if you are unsure of your seller.)  This level of markup in the handbag resale market –
from £6,000 to £15,000 – has not been  seen for many years. What an amazing achievement for Hermès.

Back to the relaunch of the Kelly Danse: it seems highly coincidental that the Mini Kelly 20cm production is stalled just as the Kelly Danse is released.  Will the Kelly Danse become as sought after as the Mini Kelly? While Hermès does not have an official Marketing Department, someone is seeking to ensure that the hunger for bags continues to grow and younger customers are drawn to the brand.

If you like the Kelly Danse and the Mini Kelly, have you considered one of the original Mini Kellies?  You can find this Mini Kelly here.  And to see how these bags shape high street fashion, you only have to look at this new Lee Radziwill Petite Bag by Tory Birch.
Available at Shopbop.

And if you really want to show your individuality and appreciation of the rare, this Hermès yellow Lizard Mini Kelly, which is from 1986 and may be older than many of you, is a rare collector’s piece.  It is fragile and worn, but is expected to grow enormously in value.

Our thanks go to Purse Blog for their endlessly brilliant writing and research.

Annabelle Hunt

Beautiful Box Birkin

This bag was bought by our dear partner, a collector of Hermes bags who is selling a few of her pieces to fund her post graduate degree.

It is H Stamp, made in 2004. This officially makes the bag a vintage piece.

Box leather was the leather initially used for Kelly handbags. It’s a calf leather, is smooth and very beautiful, with a slight sheen. However, being very smooth, with a very gentle grain, it does scratch more easily than the better-known togo and clemence leathers, and this frightens people. What many people don’t realise is that once the leather has suffered some wear and tear, it develops a lovely sheen, a gentle patina.

This bag is unusual because it’s 35cm, which is large for box leather. It was made as a special order, so only a handful of bags in this combination of leather or colour were ever created. The raisin leather is edged in cyclamen, a light purple which also lines the bag.

It shows signs of gentle wear on the base and the feet, but the signs of use the body of the bag are so gentle that it looks new. Box leather is sturdy so the bag will continue to stand upright for many years. The hardware has all been completely replaced and there are still plastic protectors on the metal.

This is one of a few pieces that we would recommend as an investment.

For more information or to purchase please click HERE

New to Lilac Blue London

Watches, but not just any watch….  We have often been asked by clients visiting the Lilac Blue London showroom if we sell other luxury items, particularly watches.  Up until recently we haven’t as we’ve liked to concentrate on our core business, however we don’t like to disappoint so having made some connections with trusted suppliers Lilac Blue London are delighted to announce that we have a small selection of extremely lovely watches available from Patek Philippe and Rolex, two manufacturers who are at the very peak of the luxury watch business.

Patek Philippe has an unrivalled reputation for quality and sells some of the most expensive watches ever made, in fact just a few days ago a one-of-a-kind Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime sold for the breathtaking figure of £24.3 million.  The quality of design, materials and craftsmanship is outstanding and when you own a Patek Philippe you are showing pride and appreciation of the traditional Swiss watchmaker’s art.

Rolex is quite probably the most well known watch brand in the world, their models have been worn by many celebrated figures both past, present and fictional.  Their watches are created with a purpose – for diving, climbing, flying – and are all superbly made to the highest standards.  Paul Newman’s Daytona sold in 2017 for US$17.8 million and for some time held the record for the most expensive watch ever sold.

Watches from Lilac Blue London

 

If you’d like information on any of these watches or to ask us to find one for you, please get in touch via WhatsApp: +44 7887 409934

Lilac Blue London doesn’t just sell Hermes bags.

Lilac Blue London has long had a reputation as a trusted and experienced seller of Hermes bags,in particular the Birkin, the Kelly and the Constance and indeed a great deal of our time is spent sourcing these beautiful bags for clients around the world.  What is less well known is that we also have plenty of expertise with other brands including Chanel, Vuitton and Goyard and have many loyal customers who ask us to help them find their favourite bag.

Featured here are just a few of the amazing bags we have available right now, these are our current favourites but that may change soon – there are plenty more on our website to choose from.

If you’re a fan of the Chanel Flap Bag then take a look at this particularly special one , a beautiful dusky pink Chanel Mini Classic Flap in Crocodile.  Chanel are no longer making bags in crocodile so this is one of the last brand new Croc Flap bags out there – a rare beauty!

Louis Vuitton followers will know that Virgil Abloh has got everyone talking with his fabulous Fibre Optic Keepall, quite possibly the most amazing bag we’ve  seen:

The Goyard Mini Saigon is not a new design by any means but it’s still a much prized possession and is a cute little bag which can be carried in the hand or worn on the shoulder, we have a black Mini Saigon and another in Natural which features two wooden strips on the front – both have hand carved wooden handles.

These are only three examples of what we have, take a look at our website for the full list of bags from non Hermes designers, and if you don’t see what you want do get in touch via WhatsApp +44 7887 409934 and we’ll do our very best to help you find it.  .

Newsletter Spring 2019

The Rise of the Preloved Market

Lilac Blue London has long been aware of the virtue of buying your bag “second hand” or “preloved” –  the term we prefer.  Buying a preloved bag is a great introduction to Hermes and it’s why we have two categories ~ GOOD AS NEW and VINTAGE/PRELOVED on our website devoted to them, there are some really beautiful bags there.

Lisa Armstrong, head of fashion at The Telegraph has written an interesting and informative article on the growth of the preloved market in luxury handbags – read it in full here:

Why This Year’s It Bag is an old bag.

If you are interested in any of our As New or Preloved bags then please get in touch via WhatsApp  +44 7887 409934 or email contact@lilacblue.com.

Birkin 35 in Black Shiny Croc

Vintage Black Silk Constance

Gold Birkin 35

 

 

 

 

Good As New

A brand new Hermes handbag is one of the most precious accessories you will ever buy.  You know that the bag is in pristine condition and it will feel and smell perfect, in its orange box with all the trimmings.  But buying a Birkin or Kelly from Hermes can take months or years, and the premium on one from a reseller such as ourselves can be costly.  So you might want to consider the Preloved market.    Obviously there are limitations here in the terms of choice but in general there is a good selection of bags in varying conditions at equally varying prices.

At Lilac Blue London we have a number of bags which come under the category of Preloved, but they are in such good condition that you would hardly know that they weren’t brand new.  To help you find these we have decided to create a new area called Good As New and have selected some of our Preloved Hermes bags, as well as a few from Chanel which are in near perfect condition.  If you are interested in any of these bags then do please call us on +44 845 224 8876 or email contact@lilacblue.com for more detailed information.

Lilac Blue London’s First Foray into Fundraising

We are happy to announce that our crazy donation to the Type 1 Diabetes Party at LAPADA Art and Antiques fair raised £15,000 for JDRF. The bag caused a frenzy at the live auction and the audience loved seeing it as it was paraded around the dinner party.

We decided to work with this charity because it’s such an unknown condition which is increasing at an alarming rate. If you’d like to find out more, please go to the JDRF website.

 

 

 

Handbag Prices reduced to celebrate our sponsorship of the LAPADA Charity Party.

Lilac Blue London, one of the foremost specialist luxury handbag boutiques in London, is raising money for type 1 Diabetes and is dropping prices on key bags.

Every Monday for the next 3 weeks a new range of Hermes and Chanel bags will be offered at amazing prices.  This week: exotic skins: ostrich and crocodile Hermes, Kellies and Chanel.

Then join us on 17 September at LAPADA in Berkeley Square where we will be auctioning a brand new Black Birkin 35cm…..

The Brexit political turmoil has lowered the UK currency substantially.  So bags are nearly at prices you will find AT HERMES in some countries.

For the first time, you can choose exactly which bag you would like, at a price close to that at Hermes, without having to buy Hermes scarves, jewellery or cashmere…. AND enjoy the wonderful Lilac Blue customer service.

Buy one of these extraordinary pieces and know that 25% of our profit will go to the JDRF charity, to help find a cure for juvenile Type 1 Diabetes.

Birkin 25 in Black Shiny Crocodile with Silver hardware at £40,000

Birkin 30 Rouge Hermes and Burgundy ‘Ghillies’ limited edition in Matte Crocodile £38,000

Kelly 28 in Malachite Green Matte Alligator £46,000

HAC 50 Saffron in Ostrich – reconditioned vintage and a very unusual piece £40,000

 

Kelly Pochette in Aubergine Shiny Crocodile £21,000

Hermes Date Stamps – The Guide

Why check a date stamp?
Purchasing a genuine Hermes bag is a process which can be difficult – there are a lot of inauthentic bags out there, and the people making those bags are always looking at ways to deceive prospective buyers.  Hermes is unusual in that they do not issue certificates of authentication, unlike other leading brands like Chanel.  The Hermes use of date stamps is one way to help ensure that the bag you buy is genuine – it should not be used as the only method, but an understanding of how the date stamp works will help you.  It is always advisable to use an experienced and trusted reseller of Hermes handbags – Lilac Blue London has years of experience in identifying genuine bags and is always happy to help.

What is the date stamp and where is it found?
Each bag is marked with a date or blind stamps which are codes embedded in the leather indicating both the year of manufacture and the identity of the artisan who created the bag.  Between 1945 and 1971 it was just the letter on its own but from 1971 to 2014 the letters were enclosed either in a circle or a square.  These stamps were always located on the back of the closure strap but they can now be found close to the back flap, on the left side.

Stamps denoting exotic leathers
In addition to the date stamp, there are additional symbols to indicate different leathers, for example alligator is an empty square, porosus crocodile is ˄, nilocitus crocodile is ••, and lizard is.  If you are buying a Special Order bag this will be shown by a Horseshoe stamp next to the Hermes logo on the inside – hence the description HSS on some Special Order bags.

Examples of where to find the date stamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Exotic Skin symbols:

 

 

 

 

Horseshoe Stamp denoting a Special Order Bag:

 

 

 

 

Hermes Date Stamps since 1945: 

No Shape Circle Square No Square & inside flap
1945 A 1971 A 1997 A 2015 T
1946 B 1972 B 1998 B 2016 X
1947 C 1973 C 1999 C 2017 A
1948 D 1974 D 2000 D 2018 C
1949 E 1975 E 2001 E 2019 D
1950 F 1976 F 2002 F  
1951 G 1977 G 2003 G  
1952 H 1978 H 2004 H  
1953 I 1979 I 2005 I  
1954 J 1980 J 2006 J  
1955 K 1981 K 2007 K  
1956 L 1982 L 2008 L  
1957 M 1983 M 2009 M  
1958 N 1984 N 2010 N  
1959 O 1985 O 2011 O  
1960 P 1986 P 2012 P  
1961 Q 1987 Q 2013 Q  
1962 R 1988 R 2014 R  
1963 S 1989 S    
1964 T 1990 T    
1965 U 1991 U    
1966 V 1992 V    
1967 W 1993 W    
1968 X 1994 X    
1969 Y 1995 Y    
1970 Z 1996 Z  

If you require any help in understanding the Hermes date stamp, or would like some advice on authenticating a bag, then please get in touch with Lilac Blue London either via email: contact@lilacblue.com or telephone: +44 (0)845 224 8876.

images from Lilac Blue London, Bagsnob, Portero & Bags of Luxury

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