The Kelly bag and Grace Kelly's influence - Hermès Kelly bag: history and secrets of the Kelly bag

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The Kelly bag and Grace Kelly's influence


Grace Kelly at the Cannes Festival before meeting Prince Rainier © Retro/SIPA - The Kelly bag and Grace Kelly's influence
Grace Kelly at the Cannes Festival before meeting Prince Rainier © Retro/SIPA
Designed by Robert Dumas in the 1930s, the Kelly was simply unlike any other bag around. It was first called sac à courroie pour dames, meaning bag with straps for ladies.

The Kelly bag is a trapezium closed with two straps. It has four studs on the bottom, so it can be placed on the ground. It wasn't precious or decorated, and not really suitable for travelling as it doesn't sit on the knees. The first version came with a lock and was lined with thick leather like a suitcase. The Kelly bag wasn't a best-seller at first, but remained in the Hermès collection.

It took an American princess and a photo published in Life magazine in 1956 to propel the bag to superstardom. Grace Kelly, the Princess of Monaco, was a huge fan, and used the bag to conceal her bump when pregnant! She owned half a dozen of the bags, in black, honey, brown, red and dark green! This photograph graced magazine covers around the world and turned the bag into an overnight sensation. It was renamed the Kelly by fashionistas, but only officially renamed 21 years later.


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