Renowned luxury brands, such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Gucci boast a long history. Scroll down to review vintage Hermes ads and their printed advertising campaigns from 1920 to 2020s and take a look back at the fashion history of the French luxury brand.
Most Popular Vintage Hermes Ads 1920s-2000s
Here's a 80-year fashion throwback from one of the high-end designer brands with long history.
Hermes: Short History of Fashion
The Hermes fashion house was founded in 1837. With almost 200 years of history, Hermès is a historical landmark that is deeply connected with the rich traditions of luxury, style, and beauty.
The history of the Maison Hermès started in Paris in 1837 by Thierry Hermès. At that time, as travelling was prestigious and upscale, the fashion house only targeted travelers and produced leather goods.
In the late 1800s Hermes came up with a large travel bag, Haut à Courroies. It was the very first Hermes bag designed to carry a horse's saddle and boots, and the handles were large. Later, this shape served as inspiration for the Hermes Kelly bag's silhouette.
In the beginning of the XX century, Hermes was still known for their horse-riding and travel accessories. Let's follow the rest of the history looking at what the fashion looked like in 1920s-2000s.
Check out our article on fun facts about Hermes.
1920s Vintage Hermes Ads
The first known Hermes printed ads were from 1920s. In fact, 1920s and 1930s turned to be prosperous for the company. In the course of roaring 20s, two important events happened in the history of the Hermes fashion house.
In 1922, Hermès introduced their first ever marketed line of women’s handbags. Back in the 1920s, Émile-Maurice Hermès and Ettore Bugatti created a bag for Julie, Hermès' wife, because she wasn’t satisfied with existing bags. Later this bag was redesigned and turned into a perfect travel bag, as it was spacious enough and yet very comfortable.
Shortly after that, Hermès established their first ever international presence in the United States in 1924. As travelling between Europe and States became more common in 1910-20s, ocean liners have an exceedingly prominent symbol of the late 1920s. As a result, liners were featured in several vintage Hermes ads.
Another popular way of travelling at that time was by car, so Hermes developed travel cases for personal belongings.
1930s Vintage Hermes Ads
As you might have noticed, 1920s Hermes ads were all drawings. It was in 1930s when Hermes first used models for their ads.
The range of goods Hermes was offering at that time kept expanding, from travel accessories to watches and notebooks. Looks like the brand was experimenting.
In 1937 scarves were first added to the portfolio and to the ads.
1940s Hermes Vintage Ads
Through 1940s, Hermes only focused on accessories. During these prominent years, Hermes introduced their blind stamp system for leather accessories.
1950s Hermes Vintage Ads
1950s were very prominent for Hermes as its iconic logo was created in the early 1950s based on the drawing of the French painter Alfred de Dreux. And just like that, a duc-carriage-with-a-horse became popular all over the world.
In the early 1950s, Hermes continued to focus their ad campaigns on clothing and leather goods designed for travelling. Note how A-line silhouettes captivated the creative minds of the designers of the era, while gloves has become a prominent fashionable accessory.
Through the 50s, Hermes continued to market their travel bags and bags for luxurious sports, such as golf or hunting.
In 1950s, exotic leather was introduced as a premium material and made its first appearance publicly as the type of leather Hermes would use on their high-end handbags.
Even though Hermes already had one of its main staples, the Sac a Depeches (or Hermes Kelly), it was still overshadowed by handbags that were more relevant at a time - structured, boxy, with a long handle and front lock.
In 1956, as the Hermes Kelly bag boomed thanks to the Princess of Monaco carrying the handbag to cover her baby bump, the iconic purse gradually started to appear in the ads, at first only to highlight the suede paletot:
Finally, the same year the iconic purse was featured on its own, in one of the first color ads.
Here are more fashion statements from Hermes in 1956-1959, long before croco Hermes leather and fur have become hot topics among fashion activists.
Aside from crocodile pieces, satin was a popular material for handbags of the time.
Here are a few pictures from 1959. Can you note that the fashion has changed?
1960s Vintage Hermes Advertisements
In 1960, Hermes gets much closer to the Fashion house we know today. With Hermes Kelly sales going through the roof, the house of haute couture continued to focus on accessories, such as silk scarves and shawls.
1960s introduced all types of elegant hair accessories into daily use. Round hats, silk carres have become a symbol of the era, with Audrey Hepburn being one of the top celebrities and role models.
Here's an photo session from 1963 described with a simple word: elegance. Haute couture models are donning 3/4 sleeves, gloves and round neck lines.
Crocodile vintage Hermes bags can still be found today on such platforms as eBay.
1970s Vintage Hermes Ads
After a dozen years with clothing in a spotlight, Hermes decides to keep the focus on its staples, leather accessories and, namely, handbags. With Bianca Jagger and Liza Minelli as IT girls, the 1970s women's fashion was exuberantly sparkling.
In 1978, a tricolor Hermes Kelly debuted the shelves.
1980s Vintage Hermes Ads
1980s were marked as a tipping point in the Hermes history. While before that Hermes was a synonym of French charm and elegance, in 1981 they gained something that made fashionistas around the world go crazy even 50 years after that.
In 1981, the Hermes Birkin bag, the icon of all icons, first made its public appearance.
Hermes continued to work with exclusive premium leathers, croco and ostrich.
1990s Vintage Hermes Ads
2000s Vintage Hermes Ads
Thank you for reading this article and scrolling through vintage Hermes ads until the end. Pics are courtesy of purseforum member's collection. What era did you love most?