Monday, October 20, 2014

LVMH Explains How It Will Distribute $7.4 Billion Hermes Stake

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC) laid out how it will distribute its 23 percent stake in Hermes International SCA to shareholders after agreeing last month to relinquish its stake in the Birkin bag maker.
LVMH shareholders will get two Hermes shares for every 41 LVMH shares they own, according to a regulatory filing today.
LVMH will communicate the distribution at least four business days before it takes place, the world’s largest luxury-goods maker said. The Hermes shares will be valued at the opening trading price on the day of the payment, not exceeding 235.2 euros a share, valuing the stake at as much as 5.8 billion euros ($7.4 billion), LVMH said.
LVMH, based in Paris, is distributing its Hermes stake to shareholders almost four years after it started building the holding without Hermes’s knowledge. The payment, due to be completed by Dec. 20, will leave Groupe Arnault, the family holding company of LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault, with an 8.5 percent interest in Hermes, LVMH has said.

Monday, October 13, 2014

$20k Hermès Birkin bags ‘smell like marijuana’

Hermès’ iconic bag, the Birkin, has a pungent problem — customers are returning some recent orders of the wildly expensive bags to the boutiques, complaining they smell of marijuana.
Customers — some of whom have paid about $20,000 or more for the exclusive bags — have been told by staff at the luxury goods store that there was a problem with a “badly tanned” batch of leather from a supplier to Hermès.
They claim the tanning process somehow makes the leather smell like marijuana whenever it heats up in warm temperatures, such as in direct sunlight or in a hot car.
A source tells us:
“Owners are returning the Hermès bags back to boutiques across the US, including the Madison Avenue store, saying they smell of skunk. The bags are being sent back to Paris as nobody knows quite how to deal with this embarrassing situation.”
Apparently, this is a worldwide problem as Hermès bags are distributed to boutiques in limited quantities and are often on back or special order.
While the problem does not affect all Hermès leather products, we are told this does affect multiple bags in varying colors, ranging in designs such as the Birkin, the Kelly and the Elan clutch, which retail from $5,000 to more than $20,000, all of which had been purchased in 2013 and 2014. It is not believed the problem affects the Hermès crocodile skin bags, which can sell for more than $60,000. Customers are reporting that Hermès staff are saying the bags have to go back to Paris, have the bad-smelling leather panels removed and the entire bag rebuilt.
While a New York-based Hermès rep didn’t respond to requests for comment, the so-called “skunk stinky syndrome” has become a subject of discussion on Web forums devoted to luxury goods.
One Kelly bag owner posted on PurseBlog:
“After riding in the car with her for about 30 minutes, I smelled what I thought was a dead skunk. Another 30 minutes later I could still smell the dead skunk, and I thought it was odd, but never imagined it could be my bag. I keep (it) in an armoire . . . When I opened the cabinet door this morning, the smell hit me, and I immediately knew it was the bag.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

All I want for Christmas is a Hermes Handbag: Wealth Building in Luxury Assets

I have an actuary acquaintance who paid a small fortune for a Louis Vuitton handbag, much to the irritation of her actuary husband. She argues that she derives much pleasure out of using her designer bag daily, while her husband only gets to use his equally expensive set of golf clubs occasionally. She has more reason to brag than ever about her decadent purchase, as luxury handbags are increasingly becoming considered assets in the true sense of the word. Big money has been changing hands between collectors of vintage designer brands, and some lenders happily accept luxury bags as security against loans. A personal asset lender says it has handed out the equivalent of about R4m to cash-strapped handbag owners who need money for private school fees or to fund a business venture. It could be easier for you to borrow against a luxury handbag than against a portfolio of investments like shares. Make sure you ask for a Hermes or vintage Chanel for Christmas, as some brands are more valuable than others. And, beware: there are lots of very good-looking fakes out there. – JC

On the day of the Hermes fashion show at Paris Fashion Week, Borro, the UK personal asset lender, reveals a number of their clients are using luxury bags from the designer as collateral for loans. In response to popular demand, we launched a service offering loans against handbags from the classic French fashion house Hermes in December 2013 and since then, business has blossomed.
Just last week, a client in London brought in a Hermes blue crocodile skin Birkin bag, with a value of £40,000 new (more than R700 000), and secured a £16,500 loan (R300 000).
In the US, Borro worked with one client to lend $30,000 (R35 000) against another Hermes crocodile Birkin bag. These types of loans are not unusual. We have seen other clients borrow £12,500 for school fees against a burgundy crocodile Hermes Birkin bag, and another who borrowed £10,500 against a slate grey crocodile Birkin.
Since launching this proposition in December last year, the lender has issued £210,000 against designer bags, with an average loan value of £9,000 (about R160 000).  Using both its in-house valuation experts, as well as external third party valuers, we authenticate and value the handbags, and offer clients up to 60 per cent of the market value of the bag based on its condition and age, as well as market desirability.
The classic designer bag is very collectable, especially to the fashionista. The Hermes Birkin bag in particular is exceptionally sought after, but buyer beware – there are myriad fakes and replicas flooding the market, from the primitive to the exquisite.Provenance is imperative when purchasing so always buy from authentic dealers and respected auction houses.
The luxury handbag market is not only high growth, but a global market that is synonymous with our wealthy clientele. We decided to add high end handbags to our asset classes to match demand for loans against these assets, and have seen clients capitalise on the service ever since.
One came to us with a vintage Chanel 2.55 handbag which she used to secure funds for launching her own online business. All the handbags we lend against are checked and authenticated by an internal and external authority to make sure they are the genuine article, and if possible we ask for proof of purchase too.”

Friday, October 3, 2014

Christophe Lemaire’s Final Hermès Collection Doesn’t Disappoint

The designer’s last take was a beautiful representation of his four years designing womenswear for the house.

A look from Hermès's spring 2015 collection. Photo: ImaxtreeDesigner Christophe Lemaire is leaving Hermès to focus on his own label, which means that his spring 2015 collection for the house was his last. (It also happened to be the final show of Paris Fashion Week.) Sand covered the runway, but there was no hokey safari theme here. Instead, Lemaire focussed on silhouette, draping suede dresses and wool blouses in the most elegant, nonchalant ways. A suede robe coat made an impression, as did a navy leather collared shirt. A neutral palette gave way to a few looks made out of Hermès scarf fabric, a nice homage to his former employers. Lemaire, both with Hermès and his own collection, is one of a consortium of designers truly capturing how we want to dress now: luxe utilitarianism, with few flourishes. Really, who doesn’t want a navy leather anorak in their closet? 

What a shame, some might say, given that his wares seem to embody the quiet elegance Hermès puts forward. But unlike some departures, there was little sadness today. After all, we’re not losing Lemaire. He’s simply moving on. And so has Hermès. Next season, new womenswear designer Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski will begin again. And we’ll be watching.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hermès Birkin Sold for $185,000!

Sold, for $185,000! 'Extraordinarily rare' diamond-encrusted Hermès Birkin bag made from albino crocodile skin sells at auction 

  • The Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin Bag is described as 'the rarest and most desirable handbag in the world' 
  • Its skin came from an exceptionally pale Hermès-bred crocodile, said to be 'almost an albino'
  • The winning bidder has chosen to remain anonymous
  • A rare Hermès tote sold at auction yesterday to an anonymous bidder for $185,000, the second-highest price ever paid for a Birkin bag.
    The Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin - encrusted with 245 diamonds, boasting 18-karat white gold hardware and crafted from extremely pale crocodile skin - sent bidders into a frenzy via phone, online and in person at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.
    Managing Director of the auction house, Kathleen Guzman told CBS MoneyWatch: 'Hermès raises crocodiles on its own farm, breeding them to have very light coloring. 'But then to search for a crocodile that has almost an albino skin is extraordinarily rare.'

    Eye-watering: This rare Hermès Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin (pictured) sold at auction yesterday to an anonymous bidder for $185,000, the second-highest price ever paid for a Birkin bag
    Eye-watering: This rare Hermès Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin (pictured) sold at auction yesterday to an anonymous bidder for $185,000, the second-highest price ever paid for a Birkin bag

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hermès’ Handbag Could Break Record Price For Diamond Birkin

Luxury Accessories:Bags, Hermes Extraordinary Collection 30cm Diamond, Matte Himalayan NiloCrocodile Birkin Bag with 18K White Gold Hardware. Pris... Image #1
BEVERLY HILLS ( — A Hermès handbag could break the world’s record price for a diamond Birkin when it goes up for sale during a public auction next week.
That’s according to the auction house, Heritage Auctions.
Current online bidding for the Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin bag, which is adorned with 18-karat white gold hardware, is already at $137,000, Heritage Auctions said in a news release.
The bag will be sold at an auction next Tuesday in Beverly Hills along with hundreds of other handbags from top designers.
“This bag is so rare and sought-after that there’s a very good chance it could meet or exceed the world record price we saw three years ago,” said Kathleen Guzman, a Managing Director at Heritage Auctions.
She added, “This is the only time that a bag of this caliber has appeared on the luxury re-sale market. This is a dream piece for the collection of true Hermes aficionados.”
Auctioneers believe the bag’s price could surpass the 2011 sale of a diamond Birkin for $203,150.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Meet the Hermes Gallery Girl

Photo: Courtesy of Hermes
Walking into the Hermès store on Madison Avenue is like walking into a bright orange shoebox (filled, of course, with some seriously stunning shoes). The first floor has the most delicious silk scarves, the second floor has clothing that define French-style, and the third floor has everything you could ever wish to decorate your home with.
Last night, attendees of a party thrown by Hermès got a peek at the fourth floor: A gallery space used only a few times a year, in this case to showcase a collection of 11 works by artist Sharon Harper.
The photographs were hand-selected by Cory Jacobs, the curator of the Gallery at Hermès. Sound like the chicest job ever? We thought so. Here, we learn more about the current exhibit on view at Hermès and what a day in the life of this gallery girl is like.
Related: Meet Hermès' Secret Weapon: Bali Barret
Tell us a little bit about the exhibit!
We just installed the Sharon Harper show, which is opening to the public today, Friday, September 19. Sharon is a fascinating artist with whom I am so thrilled to be collaborating. She is constantly trying to confound our expectations of time and space. Her works explores the intersection of technology and perception using the moon, stars, and sun as her subjects. The work also happens to be startlingly beautiful. It slows you down.
Photo: Courtesy of Hermes
We always love hearing about new female artists that art industry insiders love. In addition to Sharon Harper, is there anyone’s work that we should keep our eyes on?
I feel very proud that The Gallery at Hermès has an excellent track record in supporting female artists. Artists we have championed include Sharon Core, Martine Fougeron, Rinko Kawauchi, Martina Hoogland-Ivanow, Miranda Lichtenstein, and Victoria Sambunaris. They are all doing interesting things!
You should be on the look out for a new, knock-out monograph Victoria Sambunaris just published called Taxonomy of a Landscape. I showed a remarkable body of her work for the first show I curated here.
Related: Hermés Puts on One Hell of a Carvinal
What does a day at your job look like?
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is selecting the artists we exhibit and giving them a great platform to show their work. My selection is then approved by the Foundation in Paris and then we're off and running. So a big part of my job is staying up to date with the artists and what they are working on. I do this online and also visit artists' studios, galleries, museums, art fairs, and photography festivals. My job involves not only the selection of the artist and the work we show, but also the budgeting, production, press, etc.
What’s the best way to discover new art?
Of course the best way is to get out there and visit galleries and museums. But there are so many great avenues online from blogs, to sites like Artsy and Exhibition A.
Can you tell us a little bit about Hermès commitment to the arts?
Hermès has many galleries around the world like The Gallery at Hermès that exhibit contemporary art. Every year the curators converge in Paris for an annual meeting to present their work for the year and I am always amazed at how many truly talenteds international artists are supported by the Foundation.
In addition to mounting gallery shows, the Foundation also supports artists through residency programs and prizes. The Foundation also recently co-produced a major exhibition at the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France called Simple Shapes. I had the pleasure of seeing it this summer and I can report it is one of my favorite museum shows I've seen in recent memory. Worth the trip. It's up through May 1, 2015.
What have been some of the most memorable shows you’ve worked on since being at Hermès?
Like children, it's hard to pick just one!  I've really enjoyed each and every exhibition for different reasons. I feel very grateful I'm able to spend so much time getting to know each artist through the process of putting the shows together. It often spans a full year from start to finish.


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