Hermès International, or simply Hermès, is a French company working in the conception, the manufacture and the sale of luxury products, in particular in the fields of leatherwork, of the ready-to-wear, of the perfumery, of the house, of the art of living and of the tableware arts.
Thierry Hermès is the founder of the Hermès International company. Born in 1801, at Krefeld, in Germany. Around the age of 20, Thierry Hermès arrives in Paris where, in 1837, he opened his first manufacture, rue Basse-du-Rempart (which no longer exists), near the Madeleine church. His activity is that of a master craftsman, harness maker saddler, who conceives, produces and sells harnesses and equipments for horses. In the 1830s, Thierry Hermès lived at Pont-Audemer, in the Eure region, where he will come back during the terrible year following the defeat of 1870. He passed away in Neuilly in 1878.
Since the second half of the 19th century, under the direction of Charles-Emile Hermès (1830-1916), son of Thierry, the company, now established rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, diversifies the production towards the manufacture of horse-riding items, blankets for horses, silk race gowns. Since the beginning of the 19th century, horsemen and travellers appreciate the big leather bag, functional and aesthetic, specially conceived by the Hermès workshops for the transport of their saddle and of their boots.
The descendants of Thierry Hermès, Adolphe (1866-1933) and Emile-Maurice (1871-1951) have bet on the development of the luggage industry through that of the automobile. They were innovative by transposing on them the know-how of the harness maker saddler, in particular the « saddle-stitched » sewing. Emile-Maurice was one of the pioneers who introduced the zipper in the leatherwork and in the fashion. During the 20s, the Hermès house extended the Hermès signature to the feminine and masculine garnments, to watchmaking, to jewelry, to accessories for the sport or the city., to interior decoration. In 1929, the designer Lola Prusac, created the first silk squares and developed a clothing line dedicated to the emergent sports of the time: beach, ski… In 1933, Lola Prusac created a line of bags and luggages inspired by the Dutch painter Mondrian. Two of the sons-in-law of Emile-Maurice Hermès emphasized this orientation: Jean Guerrand and Robert Dumas (1898-1978), then his grandson Jean-Louis Dumas-Hermès (1938-2010) continued the development of the company orienting it towards the exceptional quality combined with the creation, with genuine «inventions» of international reputation such as the Kelly bag or the silk square.
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