Is this the Most Underrated Hermès Bag?

What if we told you there was a Hermès bag style that’s been around for decades and featured on recent runways, and yet few Hermès lovers seem to know it? Could this be your hidden gem?

Named the Plume – it’s an understated masterpiece that has gracefully stood the test of time. Derived from the French word for ‘feather,’ the name ‘Plume’ encapsulates the lightness that defines this bag, alongside a minimalist design that embodies an ‘if you know, you know’ essence.

Image courtesy: @ginger.ellen

Unlike Hermès’ more attention-grabbing creations such as the Birkin or Kelly, the Plume boasts a feather-light design that speaks volumes of exclusivity in hushed tones. 

Recently seen in both the Women’s Spring Summer 2024 runway and the Men’s Winter 2024 Show, the Plume is steadily gaining notoriety once again. Its presence, once a best-kept secret, is now emerging into the spotlight, hinting at a resurgence for the year ahead.

Read also: What They Wore to the Hermès Men’s Winter 2024 Show

A Glimpse into the History of the Plume

Rooted in the archives of Hermès’ luggage designs, the Plume first emerged in the 1960s. Its design is characterized by a structured rectangular silhouette, boasting two meticulously crafted, rigid rolled-top handles. Reportedly taking approximately two and a half weeks to craft from start to finish, the Plume stands out as one of the most labor-intensive bags to create within the Hermès collection.

Since its inception, the Plume has held a steadfast position within Hermès’ lineup. Like many of its counterparts, this iconic bag has undergone evolutions over the years, continually reimagined in sizes, luxurious leathers, and exclusive limited edition designs. Those include the chic mini version and the more travel-friend offering seen on recent runways. 


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Image courtesy: Vogue

Image courtesy: Vogue

The Timeless Appeal of the Hermès Plume 

For those pursuing understated luxury, the Hermès Plume stands as the epitome of minimalist design. Characterized by its clean lines and lacking overt branding and hardware, its design has stood the test of time. 

Despite its structured appearance, the Plume maintains a soft feel and is renowned for its lightweight form. Finished with a long zipper fastening that extends to the sides of the bag, this design allows the Plume to open widely. This generous accessibility ensures you can effortlessly pack all of your essentials with ease. 

Amidst its simplicity lies an array of subtle yet defining characteristics – such as the diamond-shaped zipper pull matching the handle attachments, and the discreet four feet on the bag’s base.  These carefully considered details evidence Hermès’ commitment to craft and accentuate the Plume’s understated design and luxurious leather.

Image courtesy: @bagsrightnow

Sizing & Travel Totes

The Plume collection boasts an array of sizes tailored to meet various needs and occasions. For everyday essentials, there’s the compact Mini Plume, and the versatile sizes 28 and 32. Elevate your office attire with the Plume 12H – a refined tote, with shortened handles that’s designed to seamlessly accommodate laptops and other work essentials. The sleek, squared-off design of the Plume 12H can comfortably house your workload, be it a laptop, documents, or your iPad. 

If you’re seeking spacious and luxurious options, the Fourre-Tout travel sizes, including the 40 and 45, are designed to make a statement. For those on the go, the travel totes offer a perfect blend of style and practicality. With a range spanning from mini to travel-sized, the Plume lineup ensures that there’s a size tailored for every purpose and preference.

Image courtesy: @ginger.ellen

Image courtesy: @ginger.ellen

SizeDimensions (inches)
Mini Plume7.9 x 5.9 x 3.1
Plume 2811 x 8.2 x 4.1
Plume 3212.5 x 9 x 4.5
Plume 12H16 x 11 x 4.5
Plume 24H16.5 x 12 x 4.25
Fourre-tout 4016 x 11 x 6
Fourre-tout 4517.7 x 11.8 x 8.6

Leathers & Design Variations

The Plume’s minimalist design serves as the ultimate canvas for Hermès to showcase its creativity. Across iterations, the Plume boasts an array of luxurious leathers and design variations.

The Plume is most often seen in Epsom, Chèvre, Swift, Box, and Chamonix. Each leather type brings its own texture and character to the design, enhancing the bags’s appeal to diverse tastes and preferences.

In addition to these classic leather variations, the Plume is often produced in an intriguing array of fabrics and innovative leather techniques. With renditions in Suede, Toile, and distinctive Waffle Box Calf – each iteration adds a unique touch to the bag’s aesthetic. Furthermore, for those seeking opulence, Hermès creates the plume in exotic leathers like Porous crocodile and the highly coveted Himalaya. 

Occasionally, the Plume becomes a statement masterpiece. For instance, the latest highlight, the Plume Tote Bag 45 Pegasus Chimeras, showcases exquisite artistry. Retailing for  €21,900, this Togo calfskin bag boasts a tufting design and is adorned with palladium-plated jewelry. Its embroidery is delicately crafted directly onto the leather and then shaved to reveal a plush, velvet-like effect. While certainly not for the faint of heart due to its price points and bold design, this special Plume design is one for avid collectors.

Image courtesy: Hermès

And let’s not forget about the Plume Elan, which was produced in the early 2000s. While now unfortunately discontinued, the Plume Elan offered an elongated style of the classic bag, with an east-west formation. However, with the resurgence of Constance and Kelly Elan, can we expect this bag to make a reappearance soon? Only time will tell.

Read also: Hermès Constance Elan: A Spotlight on its Revival

Image courtesy: @beatrice.gutu

Image courtesy: @beatrice.gutu


As a classic handbag, the Plume affords some versatility in its wear. Whether handheld or draped over the shoulder, it effortlessly complements diverse looks with its understated elegance. For the mini iterations, a creative touch can be added by attaching a crossbody shoulder strap diagonally to the sides of the handles, transforming the Mini Plume into a hands-free bag while preserving its distinctive silhouette.

Although the original design was not intended for crossbody wear, consider enhancing functionality with a thicker canvas shoulder strap on the larger sizes. While this comes at an additional cost, it certainly adds a touch of versatility to the bag. This addition not only balances the scale of the bag but also ensures comfort, especially as the larger sizes may prove slightly cumbersome when worn crossbody. However, keep in mind that the handles on the larger sizes could potentially get in the way when worn across the body.

The Plume stands as a subtle yet powerful icon in the world of Hermès. With its universal appeal and versatile sizing options, the Plume has affirmed its enduring presence within the brand’s esteemed collection.  

What are your thoughts on the Hermès Plume? Is it a bag that’s on your radar? Let us know your thoughts.

Published: February 16th, 2024
Updated: February 16th, 2024

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