The equestrian heritage of Hermès

The equestrian heritage of Hermès

The legend of Hermès began in 1837 when Thierry Hermès opened a workshop in Paris producing harnesses for carriages. Here, Christie’s specialist Jerry Chang introduces the signature bags and accessories inspired by the maison’s equestrian heritage

Picotin Lock

First introduced in 2002, the Picotin Lock bag takes its name from a French term referring to the measurement unit of horse feed. The roomy bucket shape is inspired by the horse’s feedbag, which has a strap that secures the bag over the horse’s ears and allows the animal to move around freely as it eats.

A relatively young design in Hermès’s history, the Picotin Lock bag can accommodate all your essentials thanks to its spacious bucket structure. The strap comprises two pieces of leather sewn together using the saddle stitch for durability. The four protective metal base studs strengthen the base and keep the bag upright, while the signature Kelly lock gives the understated design an elegant twist. 

Nicknamed the ‘shopping basket’ by its fans, this model is perfect for those who value both style and functionality.

The Picotin Lock comes in three sizes (18cm, 22cm and 26cm) and in a wide range of materials, including canvas, calfskin and ostrich leather. Occasionally, the collection introduces limited editions which are highly coveted by collectors at auction. These include the bi-colour versions with leather shell and different coloured lining, the black Picotin Lock Monochrome with PVD-coated hardware, and the Picotin Lock Pockets, which are inspired by the pockets of military uniform. 

Verrou

First created in 1938 by Robert Dumas, the fourth generation of the Hermès family, the Verrou was originally designed as a clutch bag. Its relatively subtle design, with lock inspired by the bolts on the stable doors, has garnered a strong following in recent years.

It was reintroduced in 2010 as a shoulder bag with a more architectural silhouette and four metal feet that help stabilize the bag when placed on a flat surface. As the bolt-inspired metal lock looks like a pistol, some collectors also call it the ‘gun bag’. 

The lock consists of many metal components, each meticulously crafted and polished to perfection to ensure easy and smooth opening and closing.

The Verrou comes with a metal chain or canvas strap, making it easy to style for different occasions.

Évelyne

In 1978, Évelyne Bertrand, then head of the riding department, designed a new bag for the horse-grooming tools, such as the damp brushes and sponges that were often scattered around the yard. The result was the Évelyne bag, which came with no lining and featured a perforated ‘H’ pattern to help draw the moisture away. The strap was inspired by the horses’s girth.

Thanks to its clean lines and affordable price, this bag became one of the most popular models in the 2000s. Today, the ‘H’ logo is regarded as one of the Maison’s signature motifs. In 2016 Creative Director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski gave the Évelyne bag a makeover, replacing the perforated ‘H’ logo with an embossed diamond-shaped ‘H’ insignia. He also strengthened the structural silhouette with the ‘Sellier’ stitching.

Available in various sizes from TPM to GM, Évelyne is the perfect everyday bag. With its versatile strap, it can also be carried hands free. The larger version is a popular choice among men. While some wear the bag with the decorated side facing outward, others prefer to hide the logo channeling the Maison’s spirit of understated luxury.

Rodeo Charms

Certain Hermès bag charms, such as the iconic Rodeo charm, are inspired by Hermès’ equestrian heritage.

Shaped after a toy horse, the Rodeo charm is crafted from supple and smooth Milo lambskin. Vibrant colour combinations are often used for the body, mane, tail and saddle of the pony. Some limited editions even feature genuine horse mane. 

Inspired by the mythical winged horse, the latest Rodeo charm with wings has been coveted by collectors since its launch and is even harder to find than a Hermès bag.

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The Rodeo charm is available in three sizes – PM, MM and GM, so you can always find one to match your bag.