The Vintage Contessa’s A to Z of some of the most popular Hermes leathers used to craft their fabulous bags. In this section we will be exploring A through to C.
ARDENNE: Now discontinued, Ardenne leather is large grain, flat, structured leather (it doesn’t slouch or flop). It is scratch resistant and has a touch of a sheen but is not shiny. The leather is lighter and less textured than the Togo. Similar to the current leather Vach Liegee. You can find several Birkins on our website currently which are crafted from Ardenne leather.
BARENIA NATURAL: The original saddle leather, this leather is double tanned in chrome and vegetable dyes and then soaked in a mix of nine different oils over a 5 to 6 week process. The process causes the leather fibers to soak up all the oils, leaving the leather with an interesting characteristic… When scratched, the scratches can be rubbed off with a few swipes of your finger because Barenia is oil absorbent. Also, when rained upon the water droplets will eventually evaporate. There is no aniline finish, therefore this leather will develop a patina.
BOX CALF: The quintessential Hermes leather crafted from calf. This leather has been around since Hermes has been making handbags. It is a smooth leather with a glossy finish that is susceptible to scratches, however the scratches eventually blend into one glossy mirror-like patina that Box Calf aficionados crave. Care must be taken with this leather when raining, if the raindrops are not wiped off the leather will blister. Under the right care, box calf can last for generations, and is one of the leathers that Hermes will always refurbish. You can find several box calf Birkins, Kelly bags and Constance bags on our website.
CHAMONIX: The matte version of Box Calf. This leather handles scratches better than Box Calf, but is worse in the rain, with a greater tendency to blister. The finish applied to this leather gives it an almost plastic appearance at times.
CHEVRE de COROMANDEL: Goathide that is characterized by its pronounced spine pattern down the middle of the skin. Like most goathides, it is lightweight, scratch resistant, and has a sheen to the surface that gives the skin an iridescence. It absorbs color well.
CHEVRE MYSORE: Another goathide but with a less pronounced spine pattern than Coromandel. Lightweight, scratch resistant, and iridescent, it is known for making colors “pop”. The grain is more refined than Coromandel.
CLEMENCE: Clemence is the hide of the young bull. It’s quite soft and squishy and a little heavier than togo. In 30cm, the weight is unnoticeable between Togo and Clemence, however in 35cm, Clemence is heavier than Togo. Clemence takes color more than Togo so Rouge H for example will be deeper and richer in tone in Clemence and a bit lighter in Togo. The Togo keeps its shape more and has a much nicer feel, when open the Clemence is slouchier. This leather has been used since the 1980’s, and is now becoming a classic. Another of the Hermes leathers that can be refurbished to almost as good as new, but do take care when it rains as the leather can blister. We have several styles in Clemence on the website at the moment, including this fabulous tricolor you can see in the photograph above.
COURCHEVEL: Recently this leather is only seen in small accessories, however we have both a Kelly bag and a Birkin bag available on the website, so Courchevel fans rush over there now! This leather is very similar to Epsom in appearance. Another embossed leather, it is lightweight and easy to clean. This leather tends to be shinier and darker at the top of the grain.