It’s probably the most famous bag in the world, and one of just a few called by its first name. The “Kelly” bag is named after the actress Grace Kelly, who used one of her two favorite Hermès bags to shield her pregnant stomach from the prying eyes of the paparazzi in 1956. Photographs of her covering her baby bump with her hallowed Hermès bag were seen all over the world and even made it onto the cover of Life magazine! The Hermès Kelly bag and its namesake, Grace Kelly, became icons of fashion at that time, and both remain the classic image of elegance to this day.
Aside from its distinctive trapezoid shape, rigid bottom standing on four metallic studs, its flaps, its triangular gussets and its curved, sculpted handle, the other essential features that identify a Kelly bag are the straps that cross over the clasp, the padlock and the little bell that protects the key.
Each Hermès Kelly bag is made by a single craftsman at Hermès. There are more than twenty steps in the transformation of animal skin into bag, all standardised, and almost 200 different techniques, including plucking, gumming, smoothing, thinning down, treating and massaging. The skin has to become completely smooth.
Each bag is made by one craftsman only. The work required on precious skins such as crocodile, ostrich and lizard skin is all handled by experienced craftsmen.All this work is performed with care, patience and love by a craftsman who takes around twenty hours to sew, stitch, glue and assemble the 36 pieces of leather that make up a Kelly bag, before adding his signature.