How Hermès invented the hype | GQ


Over the past five years, several vintage and archival fashion dealers have told me that they have seen the market explode for almost anything that bears the Hermès name. “The only undeniable thing about Hermès is that it has always conveyed fantastic and ambitious luxury,” says Gonsalves. “That feeling has always been there for us, but maybe now some of the younger ones can recognize it too.”

Procell traces the current wave of Hermès fanaticism in men’s fashion to positioning the Birkin as a hip-hop go-to bag, like when Drake revealed in 2017 that he was assembling a collection for his future wife. Many of his peers seemed happy to simply collect them for their romantic partners (Offset, Quavo) or themselves (Young Thug). Meanwhile, A $ AP Rocky appeared on stage the same year draped in a Hermes blanket.

The Hermès hype goes far beyond bags and blankets, however. Margiela’s recent fervor has turned men into collectors of the designer’s cerebral women’s clothing for the home. Then there is Kermit Oliver, the famous painter-postman who is one of the only Americans to create the art of Hermès scarves. Teo Griscom, owner of Santa Fe Vintage, has seen the Hermès vintage market soar for the past five years. Prices for Oliver’s exuberant Southwestern-themed designs, with their Native American designs and giant turkeys, “have skyrocketed,” she says, to over $ 5,000 for a single $ 35 square of silk. by 35 inches. “When you collect something so iconic,” Griscom says, “you want that story.”

Like the followers of Hermès, the house converts its customers into collectors by encouraging those looking for its most exclusive products to first accumulate a portfolio of objects from other trades, like the way in which Rolex dealers develop the brand’s watch collectors. Bryan Yambao, who first rose to prominence as a Bryanboy blogger and now consults for a number of luxury brands, owns pillows, blankets, ponchos and handbags (including five Birkins) and is also a porcelain enthusiast of the house. He is not alone: ​​young men are said to be Hermès’ clientele, which is growing the fastest for this profession. “They are steadfast,” Yambao says of the brand’s range. “They don’t compromise.” Although the Hermès philosophy can sometimes clash with the millennial lifestyle: Yambao recently put his cup of tea in the microwave to warm up his coffee and it almost exploded. “There is real gold in there!” he said. “Hermès does not fuck!”

Many fashion brands, given such a praised catalog, would be eager to plunder it for future collections. But Hermès rarely reintroduces its objects. This has made it both the archival brand par excellence and the house that resists return, in constant search of innovation. “I don’t need to look at the archives,” Nichanian says. It made the archive.

The distinct and frenzied desire cultivated by Hermès also set the tone for the rest of the fashion world. Yambao believes the house invented the hype culture that now dominates consumerism – “more than Supreme, more than [Dior designer] Kim Jones, ”he says. “They’re very good at creating these really limited things in a modest way to create demand, and they sell them to the right people,” he says, adding that you usually need a relationship with the staff to do a job. major purchase. “We live in a world where, when you can’t get something, the more you want it,” he says. “It’s this built desire – and they are masters in it. They were the pioneers. But rather than fueling the insane cycle of hype, there remains the feeling that you need to access Hermès and its treasures cannot be unlocked with cash alone. While almost every brand has introduced products for almost every level of consumption, from sweatshirts and wallets to logo outerwear, Hermès remains a singularly aspiration.

“My job is to make beautiful clothes, because we are the most beautiful house in the world,” Nichanian said, with a somewhat blissful smile on his face. “And in the end, if it’s luxury, I don’t know. And I don’t care.

Rachel Tashjian is a staff writer for GQ.

A version of this story originally appeared in the May 2021 issue with the headline “How Hermes Invented the Hype”.

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