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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hermès … perhaps the last real Luxury

When I think of luxury – the first thing that pops into my head is Quality, both in materials used and workmanship. But are the products we are so obsessed in obtaining, spending our hard earned money on, and “perceived” to be luxury, truly the same as when they were first recognized as Luxury – representing Quality? Or are they just riding the coat tails of their pre-Mass market icons that built up many well known and coveted brands?

Looking Fab in your forties (LFIYF) – recently posted Livid with Louis (Vuitton). After reading it, I certainly understood and felt her frustration. A strap on a LV Monogram Musette should last a life time, and if for some unknown reason it does not – LV should certainly have a method of repairing without replacing with new leather, as it will not match the worn in look of the bag.

It appears most "luxury" brands have tried to cut back on manufacturing costs (not that any savings is passed on to the consumer) and have been/started out-sourcing manufacturing of many of the coveted products to various producers throughout Asia. Perhaps LFIYF’s bag had been produced by an out-sourced manufacturer and the quality assurance was not as strict. It also sounds like the LV store, she was dealing with is lacking in the service department for "luxury" service.

I have always marveled at the beauty of a Hermès scarf, and am happy to be the owner of one or two, ok, maybe a couple more. But one cannot put a quantity minimum or limit on such precious gems. But it was not until after reading Deluxe, How Luxury Lost Its Luster - written by Dana Thomas, that I gain a true understanding and appreciation about how precious a gem Hermès and the products it produces really are Luxury! If you have not read this book, I encourage you to pick it up on your next trip to Chapters or Indingo.

All leather artisans who work for Hermès must complete a 2 year apprenticeship in one of their own two schools, to learn firsthand from Hermès senior leather craftsmen. The average-size Birkin takes 15 to 16 man hours to make. All seams are sewn by hand, with the exception of the zipper and inside pocket which are sewn by machine.

The finished product is inspected by the supervisor, who ensures stitching is balanced, the lock works, the shape is perfect, and the surface is unblemished. If the bag passes the supervisor’s inspection it is marked with a stamp identifying the artisan, the year and the workshop, where it was produced. It is then, carefully placed in the signature orange felt bag and sent to the logistics department to be inspected again. Only after passing this rigorous inspection process – is the bag wrapped in tissue, boxed and sent to a store.

I’m not saying that I have given up on my other loves – Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton – but I am going to be much more selective on how I reward myself. And I’m definitely investing in a Birkin.

image credit: Birkin bags -  Boston.com, Hermes Scarves and LV bag- Google search


  1. Thanks for the link to my post, Honey. I took the bag to our Bond Street store only yesterday and explained what my husband had been told at the Royal Exchange branch. The "Repairs Specialist" rang the other branch and then came back to me with the same answer "It is unrepairable", again I am furious and need to find a way to take this matter further. A new post will follow at some stage. Have a great weekend.

  2. i love it when a brand is very discreet, logo-wise like Hermès for certain products. I too believe luxury is in the making, the time-consuming process and of course i also love it when a brand has history.
    I'm not as lucky as you..I have only 2 Hermès scarves ! and i love the fact that the hem is finished by hand.
    So here's to your new Birkin ! :-)

  3. Wow I had no idea it could be so hard to get repairs done on a LV bag!
    When I called their store in Holts I got fabulous service so I am saddened to learn not everyone gets such treatment!

  4. I totally agree. We need to be proud of quality and craftmanship. People go to much for cheap. The thing is still true. You get what you pay for. It is better to invest than to waist. Thank you for your comment and your visit. I so appreciate it.
    Gros bisou and great week end.

  5. Oh I wish I was a "purse person" they look so nice. But carrying a purse...a root canal is more enjoyable. I just wasn't born with that gene. Sad, I know. I'm in therapy for it. Thanks for stopping by my blog today with your supportive words! I really appreciate it :)


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