Why securing a coveted Hermès Kelly bag is the ultimate sartorial investment
From the arm of Grace Kelly to Beyoncé, Audrey Hepburn to Victoria Beckham, the Hermès Kelly transcends trends as the pinnacle of quiet luxury - a timeless icon, revered for its exquisite craftsmanship and rich heritage. In its earliest iteration, in 1852, the Kelly was known as the Sac à Dépêches, an evolution of Hermes’ Haut à Courroies (HAC) bag, created to carry equestrian saddles. Reimagined by Robert Dumas, son-in-law of the brand’s CEO Émile Hermès (whom he succeeded as the head of Hermès), the bag was propelled to the international stage when actress Grace Kelly fell in love with the model while filming To Catch A Thief in 1955 and was rarely seen without it from then on - famously using it to hide her pregnancy from the paparazzi. In the ‘70s, Hermès went so far as to rename the bag the Kelly in her honour.
The Kelly remains an icon today in its two forms: the more structured Sellier with its exterior stitching, and the softer Retourne, turned inside out during manufacturing, resulting in a rounder silhouette. Each takes a single artisan around 18 hours to construct by hand, with sizes ranging from the compact Kelly 15 to the functional Kelly 50. “It is truly the ultimate timeless bag, that goes with every outfit choice in any season,” says ReSee co-founder Sabrina Marshall who sites who sites Sarah Harris as a modern-day muse. “How Sarah Harris wears her vintage crocodile Kelly, paired with sweatpants and sneakers, is exactly how we should!”
Kelly 25 in Miel
@heels.uzb // Instagram
Sarah Harris wearing the Kelly en Desordre
@sarahharris // instagram
“A vintage Kelly Box or Toile H, in any colourway, creates a chic and minimal addition to your day-by-day look.”
Sabrina Marshall, ReSee co-founder
Of its variety of materials, calfbox heritage leather is the oldest used by Hermès and results in a smooth, almost mirrored, finish. “Nothing will beat the quality of the box leather from the 70s and 80s. We have several at ReSee that are from the 70s, and they are in impeccable condition,” says Sabrina.
Condition is everything when retaining its value. “It is important to store it in a space where there is no direct sunlight, as this might affect the leather longterm. Store it neatly in its dust bag, preferably stuffed with a bag pillow,” says Sabrina, who adds that ReSee provide leather care boxes alongside their collection of Hermès bags.
“From being (re)named after Princess Grace Kelly, to a Kelly Mini II being the most sought after bag of this year, the Kelly bag for more than four decades has been and will continue to be the most iconic bag. Part of the allure is that the Kelly ages so beautifully over time, and new (incredibly) chic editions are released every year keeping it forever modern."