The Hermes Story
Beginning as a saddlery, the Hermes (pronounced "air mess") family quickly established a reputation for excellence and success worldwide. Popular in the 1800s for their fine saddles and halters, Hermes is today a renowned fashion house. Their designer Hermes handbags and other accessories have moved the company into the 21st century, while continuing to retain their Old-world charm and presence.
Shortly after Hermes opened shop in 1837, the house was already forging a stable spot in the fashion industry. At the 1855 Paris Exposition, Hermes earned the first in class award, and went on to win the First Class Medal of the Exposition Universelle in 1867. Coronations were often rescheduled or put off while Hermes completed the fine harnesses and dressings.
Charles-Emile Hermes took over from his father around 1880 and moved the shop. During this time, he launched the business into retail and the Hermes Company began to provide accessories to the elite clients of North Africa, the Americas, Russia, Asia, and Europe. The creation of a bag used to carry a rider's saddle was the first nod to what would later become the first Hermes handbag.
Charles-Emile worked hard to bring his sons up in the business, and in 1914 he retired and turned over control of the company to them. They changed the name of the company to Hermes Freres and employed 80 craftsmen. Obtaining sole rights to use the zipper in their leather goods, Emile-Maurice added a line of leather garments to the family business. The zippered golf jacket, designed for the Prince of Wales, was the first item released. Having an eye toward the future, and a somewhat demanding wife at home, Emile-Maurice produced the first Hermes purse, and a women's couture collection followed shortly thereafter, previewing in Paris in 1929.
The 1930s produced some of the most recognized Hermes looks. A leather Hermes handbag, Sac a depeches, was released in 1935, and would later be renamed the Kelly Bag. In 1937, the Hermes carre (scarves) debuted on the Parisian market and were wildly popular with their dramatic, multi-colored effect. Hermes also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the company, and made their entrance into the American market by way of Neiman Marcus New York.
When Emile-Maurice died in 1951, he was succeeded by Robert Dumas-Hermes, who was only related to the family by marriage. Dumas-Hermes was responsible for the introduction of the duc carriage and horse logo, as well as the popular orange Hermes boxes. A savvy marketer, he used a photo of the new princess of Monaco as an opportunity to rename the Hermes purse, and the popularity of the Kelly Bag caught on like wildfire. The photograph of the new princess appeared in Life Magazine, and the Hermes name reached renowned status by the 1950s.
Changing hands yet again in 1970, the company presented a younger face to the world. Jean-Louis Dumas-Hermes, the new owner, had a penchant for advertising, and managed to make the understated Hermes name relevant to contemporary consumers. The fashion house was strengthened by his experience and his fresh approach to excellence. Many women were carrying the Kelly Bag and the Constance clutch. They covered their heads with Hermes scarves, accessorized with the jewelry line, and dressed in the cashmere clothing for added style, luxury, and class.
The work of the saddlery craftsmen at Hermes have focused on technique and aesthetics. Taking as a starting point the Essential model, the most recent jumping saddle, they have integrated various modifications to favor "close contact" riding in which the rider, the saddle and the horse are brought much closer together in a classical, uncluttered aesthetic.
The tree has a wide arch to free the wither and to contribute to the best possible balance of the saddle on the horse's back with optimum contact.
The saddle is quite flat and thin, bringing the rider closer to the mount, with a more forward seat. The seat is not so wide, slightly hollowed for balance and comfort, and with a rounded cantle.
The padded panels continue slightly beyond the line of the seat, ensuring more contact with the horse and more comfort for the rider. They are seamlessly integrated into the sweat flap with no separate pieces, making the saddle more supple and easier to keep in perfect condition.
The flaps are more rounded and not so far forward, with more pronounced padded flaps. This padding made of thick supple foam rubber has a slightly triangular cross-section to facilitate the rider's seat and aids. The underside has perforations (in a letter H shape) to maintain the elasticity of the padded flap. The billet straps are slightly further forward.
Seat Sizes: 16", 16.5", 17", 17.5", 18"
Flaps: Padded w/ blocks or w/out blocks
Tree Sizes: Standard or Wide