In Part 2 of our stroll down Rodeo Drive we scout out the Hermès Kelly. If there was a Kelly on Rodeo Drive, you know we captured it, whether Mini Kelly, Kelly 25, 28, 32, or 35.
Be sure to notice how these fashionistas complement their Kellys – the accessories, jewelry and ensembles. Style lessons are everywhere. There are so many variations on how to carry a Kelly – on the shoulder, by the top handle, flap open, flap closed, sangles tucked underneath and on top of the flap. The possibilities are practically endless.
Hermès’s iconic Kelly will always be described as classic, elegant, and a symbol of grace. As is the name’s inspiration, Grace Kelly. When Princess Grace used the bag to hide a pregnancy, the style was renamed in her honor.
Although the Birkin is more widely known and recognized, the under-the-radar Kelly can be more difficult to obtain. For many Hermès aficionados, it is the preferred handbag. After all, it predates the Birkin by decades. You might even consider it the original holy grail bag.
What makes the Kelly so beloved? Perhaps it’s the graceful elegance of the style. Or it’s the hands free option and versatility. Available in seven sizes and an artist’s palette of colors, there is a style, size and color for every occasion. Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt this handbag is special.
The Ongoing Debate: Kelly Sellier or Kelly Retourne?
As if size and color options were not enough variation, informed Hermès shoppers know there are two Kelly styles, Sellier and Retourne. The difference is commonly referred to as more structured and less structured and often depends upon the leather.
Clearly, both are timeless, chic, and classic. There is no wrong choice. In fact, most Hermès lovers say they cannot choose and own both.
These shopping best friends (pictured below) exemplify the variety available to Kelly lovers. Although they differ in their choice of Kelly style, they agree that the color Gold is one of the most popular colors for a reason.
Our fashionista on the left holds a Kelly 28 Sellier in Gold with gold hardware. She prefers to carry it in the crook of her arm, flap closed, sangles underneath. Her bestie sports a Gold Kelly 25 Retourne with palladium hardware. She carries hers handsfree and crossbody using the shoulder strap, flap closed, sangles secured.
Both are dressed to reflect the more ladylike and formal nature of the Kelly. And they are accessorized to the Kelly max: Kelly belt, Kelly lock wedge sandals, and Double Tour leather bracelet.
The Kelly Retourne
Oh, what a dilemma: how to choose between the Kelly Retourne and Sellier styles. The reality is many Kelly owners don’t choose at all. There is a place in most collections for both, even if you’re devoutly addicted to one or the other.
Describing the Retourne only as ‘less structured’ doesn’t quite do it justice. Generally fabricated in softer leather, the Retourne bag has a more casual and relaxed look. A ‘je ne sais quoi’ if you will. The bag itself is also easier to open and close and accommodates more of your essentials.
Take a look at how these fashionistas style their Kelly Retourne.
The Kelly Sellier
With structured edges, sturdy leathers, and vibrant colors, the Kelly Sellier offers a different look. Some say it’s the preferred style at the moment.
This Kelly stands tall at all times, demands attention, and never slouches. However, because the Sellier Kelly is more difficult to produce and thus takes longer to complete, purchasing at the boutique is becoming more difficult. It also is more expensive.
Looking at the Kelly Sellier, you can see the more rigid, complex, and structured construction, using stiffer leathers like Epsom and Box. There are sharp corners and the seams are topstitched together. It’s a clean, perhaps more formal look.
Despite this, or more likely as a result, the Sellier can be more difficult to open and close. Its rigidity also may prevent the bag from sitting comfortably against the body, particularly in the larger sizes. In addition, despite seeming larger than its corresponding Retourne sized sister (particularly the 32cm and 35cm sizes), the Sellier Kelly actually accommodates fewer items.
Our Pursespotter captured Sellier Kellys on Rodeo Drive, mostly in sizes 25 and 28. The most predominant way to carry? On the shoulder or crossbody, using the shoulder strap of course, with the flap secured and the sangles unclasped. However, some fashionistas went truly ladylike, holding the bag by the top handle.
The Mini Kelly
Many believe that the best things come in small packages. Apparently, right now, that’s the case for the Kelly. The Mini Kelly II is at the top of most Hermès wishlists. Arguably, it is the most sought after, most requested, and most desired Kelly at the moment.
Fashionistas who don’t have one are hoping to get one soon. And if you’re lucky enough to have one (or more), you probably want to add another to your collection.
So what is it about this itty bitty Kelly Sellier 20 that measures only 8″ x 4″? It barely holds a phone, a key, and a lipstick. Its shoulder strap is on the shorter side. But that does not deter Hermès lovers from lusting after them and requesting another.
Despite its relative unavailability, there were many Mini Kellys strolling Rodeo Drive. But notice that most of them are carried with the flap wide open. Is it because it is difficult to open and access the interior?
With the rising crime rate, it is particularly curious that our fashionistas are not more concerned about its contents. Perhaps the bags are actually empty inside. After all, not much fits inside. Nevertheless, it is the ultimate accessory to complete any ensemble.
A Few More Kellys
Clearly, the versatility of the Kelly is undisputed. There is a size (25cm, 28cm, 32cm, 35cm), style (Sellier or Retourne), and color (neutrals and pops of color) for everyone.
The two best features of the Kelly are actually what distinguishes it from the Birkin. Its shoulder strap allows for hands-free carrying. Plus, the Kelly’s chic and graceful style remains (as yet) more under-the-radar. All of which makes the Kelly one of the most sought after by Hermès aficionados.
After viewing the options captured on Rodeo Drive, can you pick a favorite?
Are you adding a Kelly in a vibrant color to your wishlist or sticking to the neutrals? Comment below on your favorite Kelly style, size and color. And stay tuned for @pursespotter_karenzkloset’s next reveal from Rodeo Drive.
All photos taken by @pursespotter_karenzkloset.