Spoiler Alert: You’ll Probably Have Étoupe in Your Collection.
In considering color options for your first Birkin, we discussed two very popular Hermès neutrals, Noir and Gold, as potential contenders. That is, if you lean toward the less bright hues.
Truthfully though, Black and Gold barely touch the surface of the vast array of Hermès neutral options. After all, there are so many lust-worthy shades to choose from in the grey, beige, tan, black range including (and far from limited to) Gris Tourtorelle, Étain, Tabac Camel, Barenia. The palette is literally endless! And we haven’t even considered blues and greens!
If, however, there is a neutral that’s just as popular, or even more popular, it’s Étoupe. One of the most chameleonic of the Hermès shades, many deem it the ultimate neutral. And why not? It occupies the sweet spot between versatility, opulence, and panache. Hence, it is one of those hues “ya just can’t go wrong with”!
Enjoy this deeper dive into the sophisticated world of Hermès Étoupe. But beware- you might just emerge with one (if not multiple) Étoupe purses by the time you’re done reading!
So What Color is Étoupe?
Étoupe sits at the intersection of brown, grey and beige, often described as a grey-brown taupe. Therefore, it merges the warmth of browns with the coolness of greys. Additionally, many find Étoupe to be a relatively cool-toned, and hence, a soothing, shade. And because of the multiple undertones present, it possesses the versatility of the range of all three shades!
Dark enough to substitute black in certain lightings, or on specific leathers, Étoupe can also resemble ivory-beige. And with the wide spectrum of shades Étoupe displays, no wonder it’s a popular choice of many first-time Hermès buyers. As a result, it is often sold out!
Not only that, but Étoupe is one of few colors in the Hermès spectrum that naturally comes with white contrast-stitching. Gold is another. Otherwise, this feature can only be found in a special order or limited edition/seasonal versions! Just another little detail about what makes Étoupe extra special!
However, what predominantly sets the undertone for an Étoupe purse is the hardware. Paired with quintessential Hermès GHW, Étoupe takes on a radiance found in the house’s brown family. The same shade, when outfitted with palladium hardware, brings a charming and refined look to the entire purse that lets the color speak louder than its accoutrements.
Étoupe on Popular Hermès Leathers
As if it wasn’t difficult enough to choose an Étoupe-and-hardware combination, we face a dizzying range of Hermès leathers. The unique properties of each fabrication results in variability in the degree of color saturation. As a result, differing leathers may appear as completely different shades even if they are all Étoupe!
With this in mind, let’s example Étoupe’s appearance on many of the Hermès leather options:
Étoupe with Togo
Togo is one of the house’s most popular leathers – grainy, scratch-proof and firm. As Togo tends to saturate colors less, the “brown” element of Étoupe takes a backseat and the color appears more greyish. But the lightness/darkness of the hue itself often depends on the specific batch of leather (yet another consideration when purchasing).
For the record, the Étoupe and Togo combination is also one of the most popular ones among Birkin-buyers. With Togo being a lighter weight leather prone to full color saturation, clearly this is a winning combination.
Étoupe with Clémence
Clémence is the heavier, softer, and slightly matte sister of Togo. It tends to bring out the warmth of Étoupe much more vividly than the latter.
As a result, both the color, and the purse as a whole, feel more casual – a sort of effortless je ne sais quoi that reads quintessentially Parisian.
Étoupe with Epsom
Being a stamped leather, Epsom features a crosshatch-texture completely unlike grained or smooth leather. Many have compared it to the ever popular and signature Saffiano leather from Prada.
As a result, Epsom is a natural choice for the most structured of Hermès handbags like Sellier Birkins and Kellys, among others. Pair that with the sobriety and mostly grey-toned quiet confidence of Étoupe and you get a purse that proclaims “boss lady”!
Étoupe with Evercalf & Evergrain
Evercalf is soft, smooth and quite shiny. Evergrain, on the other hand, is grainier, while still retaining the natural glaze of Evercalf.
When done in Etoupe, Evercalf maintains the color’s warm undertone, while Evergrain makes it look much darker, nearly on par with Etain. Both combinations are also much harder to come by, and are mostly seen on smaller purses, like the Roulis.
Étoupe with Swift & Tadelakt
Both Swift and Tadelakt are popular as smooth, semi-glossy leathers that display color exceedingly well. Hence, they are often used in the most vibrant of Hermès shades.
As “color-friendly” leathers, they also exhibit the full breadth of Étoupe’s undertones most compellingly. Upon careful inspection, you might even notice the slight gradient Étoupe forms on these two leathers – a harmonious balance of cool and warm undertones that’s exquisite and sophisticated.
Beyond these uber-popular leathers, you may find Étoupe in Sikkim, Chèvre, Fjord and even ostrich skin, although they’re decidedly rarer to come by. Sometimes, these options are exclusively available on special order!
The Usability of Étoupe
There’s a reason why Hermès’s dark-colored hues are massively popular despite the brand being known for its marvelous jewel tones. Dark colors are easier to wear and more resistant to wear and tear.
Sure, nearly everybody has a black bag. Even then, buyers flock to buy a black Hermès because it’ll hold up better and show fewer marks/scratches/spills than, say, White, Nata, or Craie, or even Gold.
Étoupe, on the other hand, is one of those few non-black shades not known to be stain-prone. Rather, it’s actually safer than black! How? Well, black (or other dark colors) could actually bleed onto white garments. Étoupe, however, won’t!
Nevertheless, a little bit of caution couldn’t hurt, right? Especially with Togo, on which Étoupe shows up as a lighter grey shade, or Clémence, which is known as a “moist” leather, it might help to steer clear of spill-prone situations. Of course, you could get yourself both a Black and an Étoupe! They are poles apart, after all (and when is one ever enough!)
Where Can You Wear Étoupe?
Well, the short answer is everywhere.
The longer answer, perhaps, would be that it depends. Despite its versatility and charm, Étoupe is undoubtedly a sober and “refined” color. While this means that the shade is timeless, could it also feel a tad too “mature” or uninteresting? After all, it lacks the pizzazz of rouge, or the summery fun of orange, or even the rock-appeal of black, not to mention the brightness of the full line-up of blues, greens, pinks and purples Hermès has to offer.
At the same time though, Étoupe can become your trusty handbag – your dependable sidekick that’ll take on the toils of everyday and still make you look stylish. Plus, since when did colors start having an age bracket? If you love it, rock it!
Whether to work, or to parties, to the gym or to the grocery store, Étoupe’s appeal is that it shows off the polished appeal of a Hermès purse, all the while complimenting each and every outfit you wear! If that’s not reason enough to get yourself a piece in Étoupe right now, what is?
When it comes to neutrals, there are some shades that everybody thinks of instantly – black, tan and perhaps very dark blues, like Bleu Nuit or Bleu Indigo. The generic greys or beiges from most brands, by comparison, fall slightly behind on this desirability index because of their general vulnerability to stains and more subtle outlook.
But Étoupe isn’t your ordinary neutral. Just ask any H-lover, and you’ll know why! Very few houses provide a shade as robust as Étoupe, what’s essentially an elevated grey-beige, and because of its versatile color-tone, it has quickly risen to a covetable status for existing and potential Hermès buyers all over the world.
So, now that we’ve got a sneak-peek into the delightful world of Étoupe, we’re already making mental additions to our wishlists. What’s on yours?
Updated: August 31st, 2022