Haute Historian. Hermes: Harnessing a Fashion Dynasty

Saddle up and ride. The equestrian style is quite the fashion trend of late and luckily you don’t even have to be riding a horse to sport the chic look. But unlike other fashion trends, where the clothing makes the statement, the dark and muted colors of the fitted pants and jackets are often overlooked for the more luxurious accessories. Of course there are any number of equestrian-styled accessories one can wear to enhance the ensemble, such as scarves, belts, hats and handbags. But the look isn’t complete without the requisite pair of riding boots. The tall, narrow boots of durable and supple leather instantly define the look and has also been the favorite boot style over the past several years. With its immense popularity, there are many imitators out there, however, there is only one fashion house who has become synonymous with the equestrian style and that is Hermès International, simply known as Hermès.
Founded in France in 1837, the Hermès family originally made harnesses and bridles (the leather strappings attached to the horse) for wealthy families throughout Europe, hence their horse and carriage logo. From there and as sons took over the family business, Hermès began producing other leather goods, including saddles and even garments like the zippered leather jacket. It was in the 1930s that Hermès began offering their most known pieces, like the Sac à dépêches which was later renamed the Kelly bag (so coined because Grace Kelly was featured in a Life magazine photo holding the bag) and silk ties and scarves. For a fashion house so well known for their handcrafted leather goods it may seem surprising that they also produce such fine and intricately made printed scarves, of course their most popular scarves are printed with horse and equestrian imagery to stick with their origins. The scarves are so popular the world over; Wikipedia mentions that an Hermès scarf is sold every 25 seconds.
Ready-to-wear clothing is also a part of Hermès’s fashion house and they can be credited with making riding clothes into a street-style trend. While they have branched out and will design casual knit clothing in recent history, they never stray too far from the equestrian look. But it is their classic accessories and home fashions that people love and continue to buy and long after the equestrian trend has moved on, Hermès will still have fans simply because of their quality and luxury.
1. Hermes Spring 2011 RTW, Style.com
2. Hermes Birkin Bag, bestbirkin.com
3. Hermes Fall 2012 RTW, Style.com
4. Hermes Saddle Bag, mrkstyle.com
5. Vintage Hermes Scarf, wiederseim.com
6. Hermes Jumping Boot, coolspotters.com
– Bonnie J Brown
Image Layout: Second City Style

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