Paris to celebrate fantasy. Last year a chartered TGV transported
editors to Marseille to fête the year of the Mediterranean. And the
year before that it was a party at the Hermés factory on the outskirts of Paris,
where the brand chose to honor the year of the hand. Integrate these
events with advertising campaigns that seem to magically leap from one of
those orange boxes, the legend of the Kelly and Birkin bag waiting
lists, the collector scarves, and an equestrian pedigree, and you’ve
begun to see the genius of Hermés’ branding. Then consider their discreet
association with name designers (recently Martin Margiela, and now Jean-Paul
Gaultier, who has taken on design duties for A/W’04 ) seen as synonymous with luxury, and the full importance of the label becomes evident. As the fashion industry returns to brand essentials, no other stands taller than Hermés.
JCR: How does Hermés continue to define luxury even when the idea of luxury
has been diluted over the years?
Hermés: Hermés defines luxury with over 165 years of family history and an impeccable
attention to detail.
JCR: How has the brand stayed atop the branding game in an age when labels
are deemed hot then not in just a season?
Hermés: By remaining steady and true to its philosophy, Hermés has held its ground through the economic ups and downs.
JCR: What’s the brand’s marketing message?
Hermés: Hermés’ message is innovative design coupled with traditional craftsmanship.
JCR: To what extent does the brand embody the concept of fantasy besides a
name rooted in fantasia?
Hermés: Hermés believes in celebrating life and looking into the beauty of fantasy. Look at the current collections – our colors, skins, and designs are fantastic!
JCR: How do you achieve making an item such as the Kelly bag, for example,
aspirational for a 27 or 70 year-old?
Hermés: This is not something that can be created, there is no recipe. As it has
been said, staying true to the roots and quality is our secret to success.
Producing classic yet modern designs keeps Hermés attractive to clients
of all ages.
JCR: Is the Hermés core client base an aspirational one?
Hermés: Our core client base consists of our collection clients, and we realize the importance of cultivating for the future, so aspirational clients are every bit as important. Walking into an Hermés Boutique, there is something for everyone: the Twilly, a tie, fragrance, a beautiful piece of cashmere and leather RTW, and of course our handbags…
JCR: There’s whisper of a new era approaching in fashion, a return to the
brand, taking the focus back from the hyped designer, any merit to this
Hermés: We have always been about the brand, the House, the roots, the family…
we rely on tradition, and history endures.
JCR: Hermés continues to grow, with new stores opening across the globe, but
those signs of growth are almost quiet, is this a concerted strategy to
avoid the hype machine?
Hermés: Hermés’ main concerns are the products and our clients. Keeping the
current client, while reaching new ones everyday. Opening boutiques is a
sign of our growth. We are not avoiding the hype, just growing at our own
JCR: What are we to expect from the brand in coming years?
Hermés: Robert Chavez, president and CEO of Hermés of Paris, says “You can expect
that we will continue our unwavering commitment to the finest quality
through the finest craftsmanship. Innovations, fantasy, and surprise are
all very much a part of Hermés’ future.”
Photo: Hermes A/W 04
Hermes scarves photo: Thomy Laetsch
Oversized orange box