Hermes Kelly Bag Details

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The Kelly bag was the first world coveted fashion statement item Hermes created after over 120 years of being in business. ( Click here for the full history of Hermes ).


Prior to the Kelly bag Hermes was well known initially for horse and carriage related iron and leather products for the elite of Europe and then for portable  leather bags and accessories. When they introduced the Kelly bag they had been in business for 97 years (Hermes was founded in 1837 and what became the Kelly bag was introduced in 1935).


The success of the Kelly bag did not happen overnight either, it took over 20 years for the bag to become widely popular and coveted and it was due to an event of chance and not something planned.


The concept of the Kelly bag morphed from  the first portable horse saddle bag the company offered in 1892 named “Haut a courroies” (or strap top bag), a bag the company created to allow horsemen to remove a bag from the horse and carry the saddle and other things in the bag in a portable way.


In 1923 the then head of Hermes Emile-Maurice Hermes  (grandson of the founder of Hermes, Thierry Hermes Jr.) had his wife complaining about how she could not find a bag that would fit her needs and was to her liking and with the help of Ettore Bugatti they designed a portable bag that could fit in a car door and was more stylish.


By 1928, Robert Dumas, Emile-Maurice Hermes’ son in law re-designed that bag and adapted the bag to be more portable and fashionable. In 1935 they offered commercially, they named it  “Sac a depeches (Sac à Dépêches)”  or Dispatch Bag in English. The bag became very popular among rich men as something similar to what today is a briefcase and also among rich women as a practical big bag for daily use.


What made it special was that at the time most bags people carried were very small in size and resembled one of those folder/envelope type carrying pouches,  that bag was something different, its shape, handle design and size allowed it to be carried from a handle instead of holding the entire bag in one’s hand and it was big enough to carry lots of things.


For about 20 years the bag was sold as a high end item popular among the wealthy but produced in small numbers.


It became popular by chance. One of those bags was used as part of the wardrobe used in a movie from Alfred Hitchcock released in 1955 called “To catch a thief”, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, both very popular actors at the time. The character played by Grace Kelly was a wealthy woman and she carried one of those bags, Grace Kelly at the time was very famous and a fashion icon but the movie itself was not the source of the success o the bag. It is rumored that Grace Kelly loved the bag so much she refused to return it after the movie was shot and she kept it for her personal use.


The fame of Grace Kelly grew even more because she became royalty by marrying Prince Ranier the Third from Monaco, she became Princess Grace of Monaco.  So her story was now famous all over the worlds an American woman of humble beginnings that first became a famous actress and then a world known princess.


In 1957 she got pregnant and in the cover of Life Magazine she was pictured holding that bag covering with it her pregnant belly, and women all over the world went crazy for the bag. They flocked Hermes stores asking for the “Kelly bag”. Then Hermes became a world hit with that bag and sales exploded.


The bag became the IT item at the time, highly coveted  for years to come and 20 years later Hermes decided to change the name of the bag officially to the “Kelly” bag.


To this day the Kelly bag is one of the top high luxury fashion items that remains in the top of all lists of must haves for the rich and famous together with the other Hermes popular bag, the Birkin.


 Some special editions and special history Kelly bags hold records among the top 10 most expensive bags ever to be sold in auctions.





In a world of automation and mass volume production of things Hermes still makes their bags with artisan traditions and the highest level of craftsmanship and quality.


Each bag is built by hand and it takes 15 to 20 hours of specialized labor, they are made from 36 painstakingly chosen pieces of leather or other exclusive synthetic materials and require 680 stitches.


Because of the level of precision, detail, the levels of quality of labor and materials, Hermes bags are produced in very small numbers, this makes the bags very difficult to get, having waiting lists of years, and those lists include some of the most famous and riches people in the world.


Due to how difficult it is to get a Hermes bag the pre-owned market has exploded.





Kelly Bags come in 8 different sizes, ranging from very small to very large. They are offered in a big variety of exterior materials ranging from common leathers and synthetic materials to exotic leathers. The most common materials used are these leathers: Togo, Epsom, Clemence, Swift and Box Calf.


Sizes of Kelly Bags

They have been offered in 11 sizes:

Size: 15

Dimensions: 5.9″ x 4.33″ x 2″ (15 x 11 x 5 cm)

Handle Drop: 4.72″ (12 cm)

Shoulder Strap Drop: 36.61″ (93 cm)


Mini Kelly II (20cm)

Dimensions: 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 2.25 (20 x 12 x 6 cm)

Handle Drop: 2″ (5 cm)

Shoulder Strap Drop: 17.5″ (44.5cm)


Vintage Size: 20

Dimensions: 7.9″ x 5.5″ x 4″ (20 x 14 x 10 cm)

Handle 3.5″ (9 cm)

Shoulder Strap Drop: 19″ (48cm)


Size: 25

Dimensions: 10″ x 7.5″ x 3.5″ (25 x 19 x 9 cm)

Handle Drop: 3.5″ (9 cm)

Shoulder Strap Drop: 16.5″ (42cm)


Size: 28

Dimensions: 11″ x 8.5″ x 4″ (28 x 22 x 10 cm)

Handle Drop: 3.5″ (9 cm)

Shoulder Strap Drop: 17.5″ (44.5cm)


Size: 32

Dimensions: 12.5″ x 9″ x 4″ (32 x 23 x 10.5 cm)

Handle Drop: 3.5″ (9 cm)

Shoulder Strap Drop: 17″ (43cm)


Size: 35

Dimensions: 14″ x 9.45″ x 4.7″ (35 x 24 x 12 cm)

Handle Drop: 3.5″ (9 cm)

Shoulder Strap Drop: 17″ (43cm)


Size 42

Dimensions: 16″ x 7.5″ x 6.5″ (42 x 19 x 16.5 cm)

Handle Drop: 7″ (18 cm)


ALSO AVAILABLE (but mostly used by men)

Size 40

Dimensions: 15.2″ x 11″ x 6.3″ (40 x 28 x 16 cm)

Handle Drop: 3.5″ (9 cm)


Size 50

Dimensions: 19.6″ x 13″ x 9.8″ (50 x 34 x 25 cm)

Handle Drop: 4.53″ (11.5 cm)


Kelly Smaller Formats

Kelly Long Classic Wallet

Dimensions: 7.8″ x 4.5″ x 0.6″ (19.8 x 11.4 x 1.5 cm)


Kelly to Go (a wallet with a strap)

Dimensions: 7.8″ x 4.5″ x 0.6″ (19.8 x 11.4 x 1.5 cm)

Shoulder Strap drop: 21″ (53.34 cm)


Kelly Cut

Dimensions: 12.2″ x 5.12″ x 1″ (31 x 13 x 2.5 cm)


Kelly Lounge

Dimensions: 13″ x 6″ x 1″ (33 x 15.24 x 2.54 cm)


Kelly Pochette

Dimensions: 8.66″ x 5.51″ x 2.76″ (22 x 14 x 7 cm)


Kelly Bag Exterior Materials


  • Ardennes
  • Barenia
  • Barenia Fauborg
  • Box Calf
  • Buffalo
  • Buffalo Dalmatian
  • Buffalo Gala
  • Buffalo Sindhu
  • Butler
  • Chamonix
  • Chevre
  • Chevre de Coromandel
  • Chevre Mysore
  • Clemence
  • Country
  • Courchevel
  • Derma
  • Doblis Suede
  • Epsom
  • Evercalf
  • Evercolor
  • Evergrain
  • Fjord
  • Grain d’H
  • Gulliver
  • Jonathan
  • Madame
  • Maurice
  • Milo
  • Monsieur
  • Negonda
  • Peau Porc
  • Rodeo
  • Shearling
  • Sikkim
  • Sombrero
  • Suede
  • Swift
  • Tadelakt
  • Taurillon
  • Taurillon Cristobal
  • Taurillon Novillo
  • Togo
  • Troika
  • Vache
  • Vache Hunter
  • Vache Liegee
  • Vache Trekking
  • Veau Grain Lisse
  • Velvet
  • Vibrato


  • Amazonia
  • Canvas
  • Crinoline
  • Feutre
  • Hermes Lainage
  • Herringbone Linen
  • Silk
  • Toile
  • Toile Chevron
  • Toile GM
  • Toile H Canvas
  • Toile Jean
  • Toile Officier
  • Toile So H
  • Wicker/Straw


  • Crocodile
  • Alligator
  • Lizard
  • Ostrich






Hermes uses a symbol system, look for the symbol next to the HERMES PARIS stamp above the clasp.


Reptile Leather Symbols


Niloticus Crocodile: look for ● ●

Porosus Crocodile: Look for ^

Alligator: Look for

Varanus Niloticus Lizard

Varanus Salvator Lizard




Hermes uses a symbol system, look for the symbol next to the HERMES PARIS stamp above the clasp.


Special Order Symbols


HSS (Special Order): Look for an inverted horseshoe to the left of HERMES PARIS

Craftsman’s Personal Product: Look for a comet symbol under HERMES PARIS

VERSO: A bag with a different color on the interior to the exterior





Kelly Doll bags (actually named Quelle Idole) are tiny special edition bags designed by Jean-Louis Dumas and they look like a cartoon character sitting, the straps can be changed in positions to simulate the arms/hands doing gestures, and the bottom simulates shoes/feet.


The first edition was produced in 2000 and they quickly sold out, they were available in eight colors. Due to the small numbers produced and how special and original they are they rapidly started selling for far more in the pre-owned market.


The Second edition ran from 2008 to 2010 and they were made to commemorate the opening of new Hermes boutiques around the world, the 2nd edition added a few new colors. By then, the collector’s world was aware those bags can become very valuable very fast so they rapidly increased in value in the pre-owned market.


A third edition of the bag was produced for an exhibition in Singapore in 2015 and those were completely different, they were made out of artsy pieces including versions with exotic leathers, embroidery, fabrics with artsy patterns and in general they were more meant as art pieces and collectible items. Due to that exhibition a new type of Kelly Doll was offered by Hermes in 2017, named Quelle Idole HSS Exquisite, those pieces would be special ordered and customized to the desire of the customer offering artsy designs and very exotic materials and finishes, making them all different and unique. Those bags were built in unknown but extremely limited numbers and it is also unknown what materials they have or what they look like. Only when they come to the pre-owned or auction market it is known what they look like.


Due to the fact that Kelly Doll bags are so rare and the designs are so special they have been fetching stratospherically high prices, it is now common to see Kelly Doll bags being sold for between $50,000 to as much as $240,000. They are now among the most collectible items from Hermes.



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