The Rolls Royce of Handbags: The Kelly Bag

Grace Kelly epitomized grace, style and elegance. She has become a fashion icon. The classic bag, named after her, has seen a revival recently and has become the bag that almost every ‘fashionista’ craves

Thierry Hermes founded the famous fashion house, Hermes, in 1837, but it only made horse harnesses then. In the 1930’s, the saddling business expanded into fashion and it never looked back. This is when the Kelly bag originated. It was first called the Petit Sac Haut a Courroies.

When Grace Kelly was photographed for the cover of Life Magazine in 1956 she wore a large, crocodile version  of this style to cover her first pregnancy to Prince Rainier. The bag immediately became popular and was then named after her.

The revival probably began when Isabel (Kate Hudson) in the move, Le Divorce, was seen carrying a bright, red, crocodile Kelly bag. Her sister knew that she must be seeing a very wealthy man. Indeed, the bag, a loud’ color, had been given to her by her rich and married French lover, who used it to seduce the younger woman.

The Kelly bag is one of the most expensive in the world. The bag in Le Divorce cost $16,000.00. Prices range from $7,000.00 to over $50,000.00. Audrey Hepburn’s reportedly sold recently for $25,000.00.

Although it is so expensive, there is still a huge waiting list. They are apparently so well-made that they are believed to last ‘forever’. Each handbag is hand-made of the finest leather or crocodile with a goatskin lining. A single artisan creates the bag from start to finish. The gold stamp which says “Hermes Paris” adds to the elegant look. Sizes range from very small to very big.

The bag is so famous that it inspired a rubber ‘knock-offs’ called the Jelly-Kelly until Hermes won a law suit against the maker and shut his business  down. Sometimes it can be found on  EBay.

Even vintage Hermes Kelly bags are expensive.  However, they are probably less pricey than the new ones and very collectible. Choosing between a Birkin bag – another classic Hermes bag – and a Kelly is difficult but the Kelly is more ‘refined’, Trina Sams-Manning, who manages a Hermes store, told the Washington Post. A Kelly bag is an excellent investment and any woman will feel like a movie-star when she wears one on her arm!

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