For "Leather Forever‟ exhibition, an exhibition of Hermes bags that opens in London today, Hermès has created four one-of-a-kind versions of its Passe-Guide handbag representing England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales; a tribute to the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Christie’s will conduct a time-based online-only auction of the handbags which will run during and after the exhibition. The auction will begin on May 14 and and each bag will be sold to the highest bidder on Mar 31. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Royal Academy of Arts.
The Hermès Passe-Guide handbag was chosen for this project as a celebration of the equestrian world. Its metallic fittings were inspired by the harness-making tradition. The bag’s name and clasp refer to the ring at the front of Roman chariots that kept the reins of the carriage in place. Each handbag retains a sense of playfulness in the form of its own special lucky charm attachment; a humorous tribute to each country.
First created by designer, Henri d’Origny in 1975, all four of these unique versions have been re-imagined by Couli Joubert, Hermès’ Artistic Director of Leather.
Passe-Guide England has been crafted from box calfskin, a leather born in England in the 19th century and certainly a King amongst leathers. The "Rouge Hermès" hue used for this handbag is so-called because it is Hermès who first requested a more vivid coloration of box calfskin in 1934. The silver fittings form an armature around the bag and on one side hangs a black fur charm; a nod to the iconic bearskin hats of the Queen’s Guard
The romanticism and mystery of the ‘Emerald Isle’ is captured in the vivid green crocodile skin of the
Passe-Guide Ireland. A deep shade developed by Hermès specifically for this project and christened "Irish green", it sits crisp and sharp against the bag’s silver fittings. An over-sized four leaf clover, also in Irish green crocodile, is this bag’s lucky charm, and a butter soft lambskin lines the interior
Scotland’s passion and spirit are woven into a tartan for the Passe-Guide Scotland. Created in unique colours by famed Scottish weaver Johnstons of Elgin, it is then framed by Barenia calfskin, the most ‘Hermès’ of all leathers due to its unique honey-coloured patina. Swinging from its polished gold fittings is a jumbo kilt pin charm.
Proudly guarding the Passe-Guide Wales is a fierce Welsh dragon charm made from a bewitching dark green Box calfskin which has been embossed in gold. A second Welsh dragon has been embossed discreetly onto the front of this bag which is finished with gold fittings and a lambskin lining