Hermès is arguably the industry leader when it comes to utilising the rarest and highest quality leather and skins, creating unique heritage investment pieces that are undoubtedly some of the most luxurious on the market. The hunt for the perfect Hermès leather is one that can be both overwhelming and challenging – how does one choose between the best of the best, to get the very best? We’re here to guide you on some of the most popular leathers, and how best to take care of them…
REVIEW OF TOGO LEATHER
Togo is one of the most popular leathers amongst customers. This soft pebbled leather is made from calfskin, boasting a smooth texture with a signature vertical veiny grain surface which is notably raised to the touch. It is lightweight and, despite its slouchy appearance, holds the shape of the bag incredibly well. Not only is Togo leather scratch resistant but it also endures rather well against a little drizzle (but we still never leave home without a raincoat). Togo is also a very easy leather to repair with Hermès aftercare if indeed there is any damage.
How to Care for Togo Leather?
Avoid getting hand lotion or sunscreen on the handles, regardless of the colour of the leather. If it's a lighter colour, you might want to wrap the handle with a twilly to prevent darkening due to the oils on our skin.
Insider Information on Togo Leather
Hermès Togo leather was released much later in 1997 and is often referred to as a half-sister to Clemence leather. It is the perfect type of leather to go for in Birkin bags if you want something that is low maintenance and long-lasting.
REVIEW OF CLEMENCE LEATHER
A Hermès leather classic, Clemence is relatively heavy with a magnificent semi-matte finish and a wider, flatter grain. Made from the male bull calf (togo is made from the female), this leather is incredibly soft to touch with a more relaxed, less rigid aesthetic, giving more structured bags a slouchier appearance. Clemence boasts a very luxurious look, and it is another hugely popular choice among Hermès fanatics.
How to Care for Clemence Leather?
The care for Clemence is similar to Togo. As it's a thicker sturdier leather, long term Clemence will have more durability.
Insider Information on Clemence Leather
Hermès started using this leather in the 1980’s and it’s still a popular choice for many today. It is officially known as Veau Taurillon Clemence. With age the leather softens, giving Clemence bags a lovely casual slouch.
REVIEW OF EPSOM LEATHER
Offering a very different look and feel, the Epsom has a man-made printed grain on it, creating an embossed printed pattern with a laminated finish. Epsom leather doesn’t stretch as much as Togo, which helps maintain the shape of the bag very well. This leather is usually quite popular with the Sellier stitch.
How to Care for Epsom Leather?
Epsom leather is considerably more durable in rain and wet weather than others and much easier to clean by a simple wipe down with a cloth. However, as always, we would advise avoiding oily, alcohol or perfume-based products to preserve the bag in its finest condition. You can use a lint-free microfibre cloth to remove minor dirt.
Insider Information on Epsom Leather
Introduced as a replacement for Courchevel leather in 2004, the Epsom leather is a great choice for frequent city commuters and flyers, allowing you to travel worry-free with your bag and being able to enjoy the hustle and bustle without much knock-on effect on the appearance. This leather takes in colour very well and so most products made from Epsom have rich and bright hues.
REVIEW OF SWIFT LEATHER
Swift’s micro grain enables the leather to pick up bright coloured dyes incredibly well, making this another very popular choice. It boasts a very soft touch feel but this does mean it is much more prone to scratching – watch those nails, ladies! The texture of this leather makes it very reflective of light, creating a unique aesthetic for whichever bag style choice.
How to Care for Swift Leather?
If the Swift leather gets a scratch on its surface, it is easy to remove with a light gentle buff. Avoid oily, alcohol or perfume-based products and always store in your dust bag when you’re not using your bag.
Insider Information on Swift Leather
Originally called the Gulliver leather, which was discontinued by Hermès in 1999, Swift made its come back in the market in 2005 and has remained a favourite leather among Hermès collectors, especially those who are fond of bright, bold bags.
REVIEW OF CHEVRE LEATHER
Chevre leather is made from goat hide and has a much more visible grain than other leathers. Very lightweight and long lasting, this leather is exceptionally scratch resistant.
How to Care for Chevre Leather?
Due to its strong exterior, the Chevre is more resistant than other leathers but this doesn’t mean that it can be neglected. Be sure to treat the leather with care, using a dry lint-free microfibre cloth to remove any dirt. Remember to always let your Hermès bag dry naturally, and keep it away from water, oil, perfume, acetone, direct influences of sunlight and heat (radiators, blow dryers and such).
Insider Information on Chevre Leather
Chèvre de Coromandel is one of the most coveted Hermès leathers. Another one of Hermès leathers made from goat hide, Chèvre Mysore is a more refined version of Chèvre de Coromandel.
REVIEW OF BOX CALF LEATHER
The oldest type of leather that Hermès uses, this high-grade calf leather is smooth with an exceptionally glossy chic finish whilst remaining strong and rigid. Whilst Box Calf is still produced today, this leather is predominantly found in vintage bags in neutral colours. Due to the softness of this leather, scratches, dirt, and water are easily noticeable so please take extra care when out and about. No tears need to be shed if you do get some form of stain on this leather, as blemishes tend to blend into the skin and form a mirror-like effect, adding a unique element to the look of this bag.
How to Care for Box Calf Leather?
Like most leathers, we advise using a dry lint-free microfibre cloth to wipe away dirt. Also use a dry microfibre cloth to remove any loose dirt or dust from the hardware and a very soft brush for hard-to-reach cracks.
Insider Information on Box Calf Leather
Box Calf Leather is most commonly used in Vintage Kelly bags and Kelly Sellier bags.
REVIEW OF BARENIA LEATHER
A super high-quality leather made from smooth calfskin, Barenia gets top marks for its durability, and resistance to both water and scratches due to its oil-absorbing material. Barenia leather also wears extremely well over time, maintaining both its soft finish, structure, and overall aesthetic. Please note the bag will develop it's own patina over time.
How to Care for Barenia Leather?
A very low-maintenance leather, Barenia can be simply cleaned with a dry lint-free microfibre cloth, removing any minor dirt.
Insider Information on Barenia Leather
Barenia was originally used for Hermès Saddles and remains one of the most sought-after leathers out there.
HOW TO CARE FOR HERMES LEATHERS?
- Avoid water and getting your bag wet
- Don't store your bag in direct sunlight
- Avoid humid/damp conditions - the hardware will oxidise
- Use Hermès Spa Service rather than trying to clean the bag yourself or using cleaning agents
- Use a Twilly scarf to keep the handle safe (plus, bonus points for a cute bag accessory)
- Do not keep loose pens in your bag
- Do not carry things that are very heavy in your bag
- Wipe the bag down after using it
- Store your bag properly in its dust bag
Now that you are familiar with the different types of Hermès leathers, as well as know all the secrets to maintaining the Hermès bag, you are ready to shop til you drop! Below you will find two helpful size guides for the Hermès Birkin and the Hermès Kelly.
Enjoy the search for your new best friend! And remember, the fastest fingers win…