Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Real Real Not So real real

While it's no secret that we all love Hermès and the Birkin bag there comes a point when we just have to say enough is enough. Hermès has been perpetuating this myth (and allowing others to perpetuate it for them) that all leather-goods at Hermès are saddle stitched by hand. In this Real Real video (above) about authenticating a Birkin bag the host incorrectly states that Hermes craftsmen "hand sew every stitch". This is totally false. While some portions of a leather Birkin bag are indeed hand stitched, much of the bag is machine stitched. While the image of a craftsman with a leather apron sitting at an old workbench hand stitching a bag does indeed make for a lovely visual - and a great advertising campaign - it simply isn't reality.

Much is made of how Hermès is so secretive and not forthcoming with information. Well perhaps this is why. Maybe they don't want to shatter the image that so many people have in their minds of this old world technique.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hermes Handbags Arriving in Stores with No Date Stamp (blindstamp)

News of Hermès handbags arriving in some of the stores without a date-stamp (blindstamp) have some people talking.
Word on the street is that Birkin (and to a lesser degree Kelly) handbag sales are down. Way down. The Rumor is that Hermès is going to stop using date stamps (unlike the photo above) on bags so that merchandise sitting in the stores doesn't begin to appear old to the trained eye (read: people knowledgeable of blindstamp dating). As it is it's already difficult to sell certain people (from certain countries) a bag with a blindstamp from a previous one can only begin to imagine the turmoil if bags were to sit around in the stores with old date stamps (quelle horreur). Perhaps this is meant to squash that mess before it even happens?
One also has to wonder if years from now Hermès handbags with blindstamps will become collectible?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bringing Home the Birkin and The Purse Forum

Always nice to see Bringing Home the Birkin the topic of conversation on The Purse Forum!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dolce and Gabbana Attack Same Sex Marriage and Gay Families

The gay men behind Dolce & Gabbana, one of fashion's top labels, say that gay families are not real families.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, fashion design icons, business partners for decades, and a same-sex couple until they split several years ago, not only don't support same-sex marriage, but they've now come out attacking it.

I've never purchased anything Dolce and Gabbana in my life and now I never will.

If Anna Wintour is a true friend of the LGBT community she will boycott this brand and refuse to use any of their clothing in Vogue.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hermes Rubber Flip Flops vs Old Navy Rubber Flip Flops - Side by Side

Old Navy Rubber Flip Flops (top) $3.50 -

Hermès Rubber Flip FLops (bottom) $405.00 -

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hermès Takes its Ready To Wear Too Seriously

Hermès takes its ready to wear too seriously. We can’t blame the designers. Designer after designer, the French perfectionist brand’s clothes lack the vivacious humor of its fantastic scarves, and often its jewelry, dishes, umbrellas, table clothes and other sundry luxury goods. They are, though, lovely and made of the world’s best suede, leather, silk, wool and other materials.

Hermès installed a new designer this season: Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, who has worked previously at the Row. (The Row is another label whose clothes are lovely and luxurious and utterly timeless.) At Hermès, she replaced Christophe Lemaire, who four years earlier replaced Jean-Paul Gaultier —a humorist designer if ever there was one, for his own lines.
Her debut was utterly lovely. Perfect suede slacks, perfect long knit dresses—one in a shocking banana yellow—and perfect warm blanket-like suits. —Christina Binkley

Friday, March 6, 2015

Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano - by Dana Thomas

Dana Thomas' new book, Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano is a dazzling expose on two of the all-time greatest names in fashion. Both McQueen and Galliano are true rags to riches stories. They both wanted to revolutionize fashion but both of their approaches were wildly different.

Ms Thomas' previous book, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster was an eye opening look inside the multibillion-dollar global fashion corporations which are focused on growth, visibility, brand awareness, advertising, and, above all, profits.

In 'Gods and Kings' she writes: "Couture would no longer be about selling one-of-a-kind clothes to the elite; it would be used as a platform to reach out to a broader customer base -the middle market- who would buy perfumes, lipsticks, scarves, handbags and other logo covered accessories that were mass produced and had a substantial profit mark-up. (At the time, handbags retailed for an average twelve times their production cost; today its far more.)"

As far street cred is concerned, Ms Thomas began her career writing for the Style section of the Washington Post and served as Newsweek's European culture and fashion correspondent for fifteen years. She has written for the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, WSJ, Financial Times, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, and was the European editor of Condé Nast Portfolio. She is a contributing editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Hermès Birkin Sellier 40

Is this just a trick to sell less of a bag for more money?

Hermès is selling a 40cm Birkin with no lock, no keys, and no clochette - yet charging more than they typically do for a basic 40cm Birkin. Add in that they claim the "stitching is extremely subtle" - which suggests to me that the stitching is done by machine and not hand/saddle-stitched - which further reduces their costs. 
Hmmm...Scratching head...


New York Times T Magazine

An Icon Goes Minimal

Credit Marko Metzinger
It’s tough to improve on perfection, but that’s precisely what Hermès has done with the new hyper-pared-down Birkin Sellier 40. According to Couli Jobert, the leather artistic director at Hermès, natural brown was deemed too obvious for the new Birkin, which is only available in matte black with silver palladium hardware. As the goal was to create an essential design without clutter, the structured cowhide bag is extra-wide, has no lining and the stitching is extremely subtle. It’s a radically modern update of the elegant classic, which has been the subject of girl envy — and the cause of waiting lists — since it was first crafted in 1984.
About $14,900,

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Is There Life After Hermès?

The designers behind Lemaire: Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran. They are partners in work and in life. Credit Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times
PARIS — Christophe Lemaire, the whispery, whiskery designer of Lemaire, is an odd avatar of steel-spined grit. He’s a philosophe of fashion, given to long pauses for thought as he chews over how and why he makes the clothes he makes. He dresses plainly, in Japanese-denim work shirts tucked into Japanese-denim jeans. He doesn’t broadcast bravery.
Yet last fall he stepped away from a marquee job as women’s wear designer of the global powerhouse Hermès to concentrate on his own, much smaller brand, Lemaire, which held its fall show on Wednesday, full of pale-rider tweed capes and high boots, off-the-shoulder tops and flaring skirts.
“There was a little bit of anxiety,” Mr. Lemaire said of the decision in his measured way, as he sat in the back office of his studio on the Rue du Temple in Paris, the day before his fall 2015 women’s show. “Definitely, it was a difficult decision to make, because I loved working there. But it was also a way to challenge us, to say O.K., this is happening with Lemaire. It’s been a few seasons that it’s growing and growing, the sales are growing. We get more and more attention. It’s happening now.”
Outside, models clustered in a hallway and waited their turn to be presented to the show’s stylist, Camille Bidault-Waddington, while employees churned around them. But inside the office, seated by a framed photo of David Bowie at his most aristocratic, Mr. Lemaire betrayed no anxiety, only calm.
“It was a recognition when Hermès came to ask me to design for them,” he said. “It was, of course, a recognition from the system. It’s true that all of a sudden people started to look at the brand a little bit more carefully. The shows started to be more crowded. Some people started to like it. That’s all natural. And personally it gave me confidence and I think by association, to Sarah-Linh too.”
Sarah-Linh is Sarah-Linh Tran, Mr. Lemaire’s companion in life and work, and until recently, the silent and mostly hidden partner behind Lemaire. She is now its co-creative director. They have been together for eight years, Mr. Lemaire said, and Ms. Tran has been working on the label for five. In January, Mr. Lemaire changed the name of the label from Christophe Lemaire to Lemaire to acknowledge her contributions, and those of his small studio. “We wanted it to become a family name,” he said.
Lemaire’s aesthetic reflects the designer’s own unforced elegance. Earlier collections included more references to esoteric regional wardrobes and workwear, but recent ones have loosened up and become, as Mr. Lemaire described his last men’s wear collection, more personal. “We’re all conditioned to create fantasies,” he said. But “we’re interested in the quality of everyday life. That’s where culture really is.”
Even without Hermès, whose new artistic director, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, shows her first collection on Monday, Mr. Lemaire still compels attention. The show on Wednesday drew an appreciative crowd. The day before, he announced — with no undue fanfare, just a mass-emailed press release and very little comment from either company — that he would collaborate with the Japanese retailer Uniqlo on a collection for men and women, to debut in the fall.
Uniqlo is, on the face of it, a full swing of the pendulum away from Hermès, whose luxury is out of reach to all but the most wealthy consumers. By contrast, Uniqlo is the home of affordable basics, a rainbow of under-$100 cashmere sweaters stacked high in its megastores. “Good design is good design,” Mr. Lemaire said. “There is something we like about Uniqlo in the generic dimension.”
Generic is not a selling point for every designer. “We’re not trying hard to be distinctive. I don’t think we are. …” He paused, then said: “Don’t try to be subversive. We believe in things, we agree with things in the fashion system and we don’t agree with some things, we just follow our own path.”
But subversion takes many forms. It can be a nearly monastic dedication to careful, nearly obsessional design. (Mr. Lemaire called the racing speed of contemporary fashion “the disease of our time.”) It can be the smaller, independent path less taken.
Or it can be, lest all this philosophizing sound chilly, more traditionally subversive, like the molded-leather bags, designed with the Chilean sculptor Carlos Penafiel, in the gracefully if protuberantly rounded shape of a woman’s décolletage, nipples included. There is, perhaps, more to the Lemaire woman than has yet met the eye. “Maybe there’s a misunderstanding about who we are,” Mr. Lemaire said. “Maybe we are also responsible for that. The Lemaire is not only an intellectual, wise Puritan — she could be naked under her coat.”
When someone is holding a bag like that all day long, Ms. Tran added, “it’s quite intriguing.”

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Hermes Twilly and the Hermes Handbag

Who is the evil monster who started this gawd-awful trend of wrapping handbag handles with an Hermès Twilly? Honestly, whomever it was they should be brought before the Fashion Police and the Board of Health.
Exhibit A:

I have two thoughts looming large on this subject.
One. Why would you spend $10,000 (entry level) on a fine leather handbag only to cover part of it with cloth? Oh right, to protect it from dirt, stains, and germs. Well if that's the case then why not use the plastic rainjacket (which Hermès provides) on the bag? This way you protect the entire bag (rain, wine spilled in a restaurant, etc). Oh, I guess not...that would be considered unattractive. 

Two. Okay, so you use the Twilly so the handle(s) don't get dirty or germy...but doesn't the Twilly get filthy? And how often does the owner wash the Twilly? Oooops, but wait, Hermès says you should NOT wash a Twilly (or any of their silk, for that matter). So, do these Twilly-handbag-wrapping nut cases actually dryclean their Twilly after carrying the handbag? Somehow I think not.

Don't people carry their handbag with them everywhere they go? From the house to the car (or to public transportation) to work, to the gym, to the restroom. And don't their hands go with them to all of those places, picking up dirt and grime, sweat and oils, and all the germs and bacteria along the way? I can't imagine that the Twilly isn't the most disgusting germ riddled piece of fabric this side of the toilet paper dispenser in an airport restroom.

It's for those reasons that I recommend No Sacrifice Love Handles® handle protectors. These Patent Pending clever little luxe devices are made of eco-friendly Ultrasuede® and become nearly invisible when placed on your handbag handle. They come in a multitude of sizes and colors, are fully machine washable and machine dryable, and look and feel great!
Exhibit B: No Sacrifice Love Handles® in use:


NBC-TV/Today Show
Summer Reading Round-Up

Bringing Home the Birkin
top 10 summer reads!




May 18, 2008
Bag Man