It’s in the bag !

The French auction house Artcurial organizes on Tuesday the 19th of January at 12 o’clock at the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo an exceptional sale of luxury bags, among which Hermès holds a place of honour. A great opportunity for MyWatch’s Editors to revisit a mythical accessory as iconic as the scarf or the Duc carriage with horse logo: the Kelly. From its creations to its numerous varieties, its history is absolutely fascinating. Here it is in some key numbers to help decipher the secrets of this high-end leatherwork marvel, face of French-style luxury.

By Chloé Redler
The Kelly bag by Hermès, western style…


Is the number of years before the bag was (re)named. Conceived in 1930 by Robert Dumas one century after the launch of Hermès, this small trapezoid bag, sober and convenient, was truly a success. But it was only in 1956, when the Hollywood star turned princess Grace Kelly put the bag in front of her stomach to hide the early stage of her pregnancy, that the name became self-evident.

Grace Kelly est son sac mythique
Designed in 1930, the mythical Hermès bag will adopt its definitive name in 1956 on the arm of Grace Kelly.

The princess’ photo having made its way worldwide, every client went to the Hermès boutiques asking for the “Kelly” bag.

Just like Grace Kelly, the eponymous bag embodies elegance and glamour.


Brown, black, red, green and navy…The Kelly was seen in these five colours more than thirty years ago. Today, this iconic accessory dazzles us with more than fifty available shades: rose azalea or lipstick, bleu atoll, vert vertigo, bright orange or even bicolour… flashy and lively colours that nevertheless cannot win against the classic black. Or against the emblematic taupe grey called “etoupe” sought after by collectors.


The Kelly is accessorized with a removable shoulder strap allowing to either hold it in the hand or wear it across the shoulder. This useful element is harmonized to the bag, with trapezoid ends closed by two external buckles with padlocks typical of the collection.

Discreet yet useful evolution, today’s Kelly boasts zips on its external pockets.


Is one of the most common Kelly sizes among those available (20 cm, 25 cm, 28 cm, 35 cm and 40 cm). Indeed, according to Collector Square – a leader in online sale of second-hand accessories and luxury items – 27% of the Hermès Kelly bags sold in 2019 were 32 cm.

L'emblématique sac Kelly d'Hermès
Very sought after, the 32 cm model is an object of desire for many collectors – Photo: Hermès.


Is the year when Jean-Louis Demas, former Executive Chairman of Hermès, created the Kellydole (“quelle idole”, meaning “what an idol”). This anthropomorphic bag with a smiling mouth and small round eyes instantly became a “kawaï” (“cute”) icon in Japan.

Le Hermès Quelle Idole en cuir swift noir
Designed in 2000 by Jean-Louis Dumas, the Kelly Kellydole is an anthropomorphic bag, a friendly daily companion – Photo: Collector Square.

The most famous of all of them is a brown and orange one in Swift calf leather. As a matter of fact, a model is estimated to sell for between 10 000 to 15 000 euros in the Artcurial auction.

Le Kelly Quelle Idole orange vif
A bright orange Kelly Kellydole will be sold at the Artcurial auction on Tuesday the 29th of January in Monaco – Photo: Artcurial.


You must sometimes wait a whole year after having made a reservation to obtain a Kelly bag. Impossible to find one directly in store, you must put an order through the House’s ateliers. The vintage is therefore a good alternative. But so are fashion auctions, often fruitful. Collector Square or Artcurial are good options.

What a miracle! You found your grandma’s Kelly Hermès in an old trunk in the attic? Is it damaged? Is the colour faded? Is a strap detached? No worries, the craftsmen from the House can work wonders, if not miracles…


Is the number of Kelly bags presented at the next Artcurial’s auction. Presented by Alice Léger, the Mode and Luxury items specialist of the auction house, this exceptional sale unveils – among about sixty lots – seventeen astonishing pieces from Hermès. Like for instance the Mini Kelly Sellier in cassis smooth alligator estimated to sell for between 30 000 and 40 000 euros.

Le Mini Kelly Sellier en crocodile lisse cassis
In the Arcturial’s auction, the Mini Kelly Sellier in cassis smooth alligator is estimated to sell for between 30 000 and 40 000 euros – Photo: Artcurial.

54 500

Is the highest price in euros for an Hermès bag at Collector Square. A small “Picnic” model in osier wicker and jaune de Naples Swift leather. Launched in 2011, the Kelly Picnic became a must for summer outfits. Its price is explained by its rarity on the market.

Le Hermès Kelly 20 cm Picnic en osier et cuir jaune
The Kelly Picnic, small model of 20 cm in jaune de Naples Swift leather, is a must for summer outfits – Photo: Collector Square.

104 000

Is the record sale at Artcurial for a 2007 Kelly Sellier 40 in blue jean Epsom calfskin leather with canvas screen print representing Grace Kelly dated from 1954. Last but not least: a handwritten signature by the Princess Stéphanie de Monaco.

Le sac Kelly Sellier 40 de 2007
Record sale at Artcurial (€104 000) with this 2007 Kelly Sellier 40 bag boasting a canvas screen print of Grace Kelly, signed by Princess Stéphanie de Monaco – Photo: Artcurial.


Among the numerous items inspired from the Kelly bag, the eponymous watch designed in 1975 celebrated its forty-five years in 2020. Original and elegant, it borrows the aesthetics of the beloved accessory. For example, the steel lock case with a white or silver dial hiding a quartz movement of great Swiss quality. Served on a long strap in black Barenia calfskin.

La montre Kelly d'Hermès en argent et or
Designed in 1975, the Kelly watch flaunts the aesthetics of the eponymous bag (lock…) – Photo: Hermès.

Consult all our technical sheets for Hermès watches.


See also:

Hermès Fall-Winter 2020 runway show.
Very nice report on a legendary couple: the prince and the star. The music of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue as a bonus...(13H15 sunday/France 2)