You've come a long way, Hermѐs.
Founded in 1837 by Parisian harness and saddle maker Thierry Hermѐs, the House of Hermѐs is today a world-renowned purveyor of luxury goods. Building on the reputation of their highly regarded leather goods, Hermѐs diversified its product line in the early twentieth century. Though still producing high-quality leather goods, Hermѐs expanded into other accessories (handbags, wallets, etc.) and garments, like this late 1920s beach ensemble. Hermѐs is also credited with being the first to introduce zippers into high fashion, handbags and luggage. In the early 1920s, Hermѐs designed a leather jacket which fastened with a zipper. According to the company, the fashion forward Prince of Wales sanctioned the zippered jacket with a purchase, leading to unexpectedly high-volume sales.1 This anecdote suggests the spirit of innovation and experimentation that has helped Hermѐs remain relevant for the last 174 years.
Even today, the most iconic Hermѐs products, the Kelly and Birkin bags, are made of leather. A structured, square handbag ornamented with a tiny lock, the Kelly earned its name when Princess Grace of Monaco (aka screen star Grace Kelly) was photographed with the bag in the 1950s. The Birkin bag, similar to the Kelly bag but larger, was created in 1981 for French chanteuse Jane Birkin. Hand-crafted from rare and exotic leathers, both bags were sought after status items, inspiring long waiting lists. In 2010, the wait was apparently over. According to this 2010 Glamour magazine blog post, there is no longer a waiting list for the Birkin bag.