Hermès designed its first handbag prototype in 1930. It featured a trapezoidal silhouette, four feet, a single handle, and a double belted turnlock closure. Originally called the Sac à Dépêches and intended to hold a saddle or pair of riding boots – as the house specialized in equestrian accessories – it’s now the Kelly Bag.
It was made famous when Grace Kelly – actress, fashion icon, and Princess of Monaco – used it to disguise her growing baby bump from paparazzi and was later re-named after her in 1977.
Over the years, many iterations of the Hermès Kelly Bag have been released. Most notably, the Kellydoll (in 2000), the Kelly Picnic Bag (in 2011), and the Rose Gold Kelly.
The Rose Gold Kelly was created in collaboration with Pierre Hardy, a shoe designer and jeweler, and was valued at $2 million in 2012.
The Kellydoll came to be as Jean-Louis Dumas, Executive Chairman of Hermès, created a drawing of a sitting figure with the body made of the Kelly bag. The Kellydoll bag is a classic Kelly with the addition of feet, arms, eyes and mouth. The bag became an idol and a kawaii culture mascot in Japan.
The Kelly bag has spurred an entire family. The family consists of the Kelly Pocket Compact Wallet, the Kelly Belt, the Kelly Watch, the Kelly Classique To Go Clutch and more! The clasp on the Kelly Belt is the same swivel clasp as you find on the Kelly bag, making it a super elegant belt. The Kelly Watch is a new iteration of a watch as its a bracelet with the, you guessed it, swivel clasp from the bag with a padlock watch attached. On the Hermès website it says, “Its owner is attached to and yet never trapped by the passing minutes” in regards to the watch.
Want a Hermès Kelly Bag of your own? You might think choosing between all the colors, materials, and sizes will be the hardest part, but it will probably be the wait time. Each Hermès Kelly consists of 36 leather pieces that are sewn together by hand (with 680 stitches!), taking approximately 25 hours to finish. And, on top of that, Hermès only accepts special orders two times a year, which means that it can take up to a full year to receive your custom piece. Not feeling very patient? Shop for a vintage Hermès Kelly instead. If you are lucky, you might even be able to find a limited-edition style that is not produced anymore.
Either way, the Hermès Kelly Bag is a great investment (even better than gold). Starting at $900, it is now worth over 1000% more and continues to increase in value every year.