Formally known as the Sac à Dépêches, Hermès first introduced the Kelly in 1935. However, its popularity skyrocketed twenty years later, thanks to actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly. The Princess of Monaco often sported the bag and famously used it to cover her growing baby bump from paparazzi. Images of the Princess and her prized purse adorned magazine covers worldwide, resulting in eager shoppers rushing to Hermès boutiques in search of what they were calling “the Kelly bag.” The bag was officially renamed the Kelly in 1977 in her honor and remains the Maison’s most popular made-to-order bag in its history.
There are two prominent iterations available: the stiffer, sharper-edged Sellier and the rounder, suppler Retourne. The names are borrowed from the stitching technique, which appears on the outside and inside of the bag, respectively. The Kelly has also inspired variations, including a clutch, wallet, miniature style, and bucket silhouette.
The Birkin bag adds value and pride to any fashion lover’s wardrobe, and only some are fortunate enough to earn the prestigious creation. Celebrities and influencers worldwide seek to collect the choicest of Birkin bags: Victoria Beckham allegedly owns over 100; Kate Moss used hers as a baby bag; Hip-hop artist Drake collects them for his future bride, and Kylie Jenner has a closet dedicated to her collection.
When actress and singer Jane Birkin was seated beside Hermès’ then-Executive Chairman Jean Louis Dumas on a flight from London to Paris, neither had any idea of the beautiful, leather-crafted consequence of the seating arrangement. After the things from her tiny purse spilled over the aisle, Jane Birkin expressed her discontentment about how she could never find a bag to fit all her belongings at once. They sketched the design together there and then, in 1984, the Birkin was born. It has since become the holy grail of handbags — an icon and a status symbol.
Find Your Perfect Match!
When it comes to purchasing an Hermès bag, there are no wrong choices. However, it is imperative to make sure the bag equips your needs, whether you’re looking for an adorable mini or a hold-all for daily essentials.
The Kelly is defined by one handle, a straight front flap, separate shoulder strap, and trapezoidal silhouette, while the Birkin features a double handle, boxy shape, fold-over flap, and lock-and-key fastening.
The best-selling Birkin sizes are the 25, 30, 35, and 40, the numbers referring to the bag’s width in centimeters. The Kelly’s most popular sizes are 25, 28, 32, and 35 for the Kelly Retourne and 25, 28, and 35 for the Kelly Sellier.