The updated version of the decades-old design has an ingenious little clasp
The Kelly tote has just as glamorous a tale behind it. Originally made as a saddle-bag in about 1892, it is named after the movie star Grace Kelly, wife of Prince Rainier of Monaco, since she fell in love with one used as a prop during filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief.She put the huge bag to great use in 1956, when, not yet ready to announce her pregnancy, she kept one up to conceal her emerging baby bump from the paparazzi. With that, the bag was immediately synonymous with Grace and it was re-named that the Kelly.The Hermes website boasts: ‘A Kelly is a rare and valuable thing’ and a week, a spokesman for the company stressed that the amount of bags it can produce is limited because only a small number of craftsmen have the necessary skills to earn them.They pointed out one worker takes 18 to 25 hours to make each Kelly bag by hand, whereas the Birkin takes even longer, stating: ‘Our production remains highly determined by the know-how of our artisans.’
There are a lot of special things about Hermès bags, but I’ve always been intrigued by their closures. The Birkin, Medor, Lindy, Toolbox—Hermès often manages to incorporate interesting mechanical closures that then find themselves recreated on other bags, by other brands whose designers are less inclined or able to flesh out such interesting intersections of metal and leather. Hardware isn’t usually the first thing that springs to mind when Hermès comes into conversation, but the brand’s has long been worth close inspection. That’s certainly true of the Hermès Fortunio Bag, which debuted in its original form in the 1930s and has recently been updated and reissued.
The Fortunio is a roomy day clutch with two main compartments and a decidedly trim finish, which reflects a minimalist bent that’s often belied by the brand’s most famous bags. The three-part V closure at the front is also trim, but it’s more usefully designed than you might think: flip open the right side of the V, and you gain access to the outer of the bag’s two main compartments. Flip open them both to get access to the second one. At 11.4″ wide, the Fortunio would make a great day bag if only it had a strap. As it is, it’s a beautifully tailored and clever little clutch, perfect for a more modern take on a Ladies Who Lunch vibe.
The Fortunio is available now via the Hermès website for $5,900 in three colors of Evercolor calfskin with Palladium hardware: bordeaux, blanc and orange poppy.
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