In my eyes, and in the vision of Chicologie, Luxury in fashion is composed of a trifecta of concepts, which allows a physical object to represent the history and heritage of a person, brand, or fashion house, the artistic vision and creative capabilities of a designer or creative director, as well as the skills and talents of master craftsmen. These elements come together to live forever in the creation of a physical object of unparalleled beauty and quality that develops uniquely as it is enjoyed by those who own it.
These concepts can be applied to any piece in luxury fashion, but for the perfect example, I’ll be using one of the world’s favorite bags, The Hermès Kelly. The midcentury crocodile Kelly shown is fron the Kent State Univerity Museum, photographed by me. Click or tap either photo for more information.
The first point in luxury, is the importance of history and heritage, whether it be of a fashion house or an individual. The Hermès Kelly, originally the ‘Sac à Dépêches’, gained its name, and fame, from Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, who used bag to shield to cover up her pregnant belly in 1956. She received the bag in 1954 to use in the Hitchcock movie To Catch a Thief, and loved it so much, she bought it from the producers. It was officially renamed in 1977.
Second in line as a component of luxury is the artistic vision and creative capabilities of a designer or creative director. Designed approximately one century after Hermès was established by Robert Dumas-Hermès, the Kelly was conceptualized as “a small bag with straps for ladies. It had a trapezoid shape, two triangular gussets, a sculpted flap, a handle, and good storage space.”
Third, and possibly my favorite, the skills and talents of master craftsmen. Hermès, established in 1837 with equestrian roots, has the highest quality and creation standards in the industry, reflective of it’s rich history. In regards to the Hermès Kelly, every bag is handmade by one master craftsman, from hide selection to finishing stitch. The crafting process takes approximately 25 hours, per bag, with an average of 2600 hand stitches.
Vintage and preowned pieces add a fourth element. The quality of these pieces allow them to exist for decades, even centuries, if properly respected. Each piece then lives a life of its own, full personal stories and adventures.
Now, We think about this physical object before us. Within its 2600 stitches, the Hermès Kelly carries the legacy of Thierry Hermès, Robert Dumas Hermès, and their entire family. It carries Princess Grace Kelly, and the talented artisan who produced it with the utmost care. It carries you, and whoever you leave yours two, or whoever had yours before you. This bag gathers a story, a life, friends and family. This is the importance, and the lasting impact, of luxury.