Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hermès- The Constance Bag

From April 13-16, Hermès Canada welcomed a Master Leather Craftsman visiting from the Paris workshop at the Toronto boutique. Over the course of 4 days, Han Zo Cling created the Constance bag. Han has worked for Hermès for the past 10 years ever since her 10 month apprenticeship.

*When I received an invitation to attend this event, I pictured an old man with thick glasses and coarse hands. Let's just say I was very wrong.

The time it takes to make a purse depends on the size. For example the Constance Bag would take about 15 hours opposed to a Birkin bag which would take about 25 hours.

Han's workspace

An unfinished Constance Bag

The thread used to sew the bag is coated with beeswax to strengthen the it. Han then showed us how a thread a needle. Sounds simple? The needle goes through the centre of the thread three times before it goes through the eye and is pulled through.

Using a compass like tool, a light mark is made in the leather to create a 0.7 mm seam allowance.

Each stitching hole is now pounded in individually.

1 thread and 2 needles are used to sew the bags. No two bags are ever the same considering each Craftsman uses a different styles of hand-stitching. Unfortunately the craftsman could not be recognized solely by looking at the stitching.

A heated tool is used to finish the edges of the bag. It is then painted over with dye.

The heated tool is used again to set the dye. A combination of coarse and fine sand paper is used to smooth out the edges. These last couple of steps are usually repeated multiple times to create a perfect smooth edge. This was one of the most challenging parts for Han when she first started.

My French is terrible but I'll take a wild guess that you should not smell, eat, or rub this in your eyes.

Han tried to explain another difficult task, the process of making the handle of the Kelly bag. It was so complicated that it required a diagram.

Super cute Hèrmes leather teddy bears!

Han had pretty broken English and I could not have done this post without Audrey, a lovely lady who happened to know French and translated for Han (you may be able to spot her in some of the pictures!)

This experience was absolutely amazing. Living in such a fast paced world where many products are mass produced, it's so refreshing to see that a fashion house as old as Hermès has stayed true to their brand image!


  1. nice.. i like them more now =]

  2. omg! this is a fantastic post. cannot believe you had the chance to see in person how a bag is made. i wanted to see the finished product, but i guess the bag was not finished!

  3. ♥nice post.)) love your blog♥

  4. Darn, I missed out! Was planning to go the day after Wanderlust but I was a walking zombie

  5. Hi sweetie!

    I just passed this blog &. I like it!
    This is a very nice blogpost!

    Maybe you would like to follow eachother?

    Hugs &. Kisses, Valerie

  6. i think that house was somewhere around queen and jones!

    anddd, how'd you get an invite to this event?

  7. Absolutely interesting! I like so much this post ;)

  8. wow. what a great opportunity you got. hermes has a truly great brand name.

  9. Hello from Albania! I love your post and the blog! Her work is amazing, adore her! I'm following you! Would you like to check my blog?:
    xoxo Kiki

  10. hello cute!!
    such an interesting post!
    mind checking out my blog???

  11. wow this is amazing! It's so great to see and appreciate how much work goes into it :) lovely blog, am now following!
    Thanks for your comment ;)

  12. anything that has great craftsmanship is worth every dime! so lucky you got to witness the process! thanks for sharing!

  13. hey :) thanks for letting me know about the event! unfortunately, i have my one and only exam of the semester tomorrow!

    ok, now back to cramming as much as i can into my brain

  14. Oh my!!! So exiting! :D

    Lucky, lucky girl :D

  15. wow i was so impressed...visit me if u want...

  16. glad you liked the jewelry! i have a few more jewelry posts coming up next week too (bling and color).
    this post was rad! i never thought about all the work it takes to make one of those things (hence the ridiculously hefty price tag). very cool birds eye view of the process!

  17. I'm impressed!