Part II: The Beauty of Box Leather

...Have You Heard of Box Leather?

When it comes to heritage, no leather in the Hermès canon has anything on Box. Named after 1890s English shoe craftsman Joseph Box, Box Leather is the oldest leather Hermès uses to construct their legendary bags (think Vintage Kellys—almost all were carefully crafted from Box). Remember that famous bag Princess Grace Kelly used to cover her baby bump in Monaco? The “Sac à dépêches,” first designed in 1935, that was later named the “Kelly” in her honor in 1956? Box Leather.

Aside from laying claim to the title of the original Hermès bag leather, Box remains a staple in the world of high fashion today. Beloved by fashionistas and especially common on neutral-colored H bags, the leather has both traditional appeal and modern relevance. It’s one of PurseBop’s favorites.

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Box Collection via @aferfind including Black Box Verrou Clutch Permabrass, Black Box Birkin 35 Guilloche PHW, and Black Box Verrou 21.

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BLACK CALF BOX LEATHER SELLIER KELLY 28 WITH GOLD HARDWARE via Christie’s. Click photo for details.

PurseBop Takes Her Reveals Seriously

PurseBop’s always got something up her sleeve (or under her bed…) and keeps us guessing with her reveals. If we can spot any consistent trend, it’s that she tends to educate us before revealing. Remember that gorgeous neutral Barenia Birkin she kept tucked under her bed, waiting to finally reveal it during her birthday in July? (Read: Bringing Home a Slice of Hermès History: PurseBop’s Special Birthday Birkin). She hinted about it here… “Aging Gracefully with Hermès Barenia Leather.” 

And let’s not forget the entire Kelly education that resulted in our ultimate Kelly Encyclopedia. We could elaborate with many more examples, but there’s one very important point to take note of: PurseBop previously shared that there was going to be a second part to her birthday story. This just might be it!

Testimonials From Box Loving Hermès Aficionados

@lionnlibra Shares Her Reasons to Love Box Leather

Hermès Box Calf is the epitome of a timeless classic. It is one of the oldest leathers produced by Hermès and is a non-exotic HG to many Hermès collectors. Box Calf is one of a few Hermès smooth leathers; it is stiffer than most skins available which provides a nice structure. This leather, in my opinion, is like a good bottle of red wine, better with age. It is prone to scratches; however, as patina develops through usage, scratches will blend in, creating a beautiful glossy finish. Hermès lovers also love this skin due to its ability to be restored easily in the Hermès spa. Exposing this leather to water or rain may cause blisters and damage to the bag.

If you are looking to add this classic skin to your collection, a brand new Box Birkin or Kelly from the store is very rare, but as with everything Hermès, there is always a possibility if you are at the right place, at the right time, with the right people. Vintage is certainly an option to add a beautiful Hermès Box to your collection.

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@alexstrickland’s Passion for Box Leather 

Box Leather is one of the most interesting leathers that Hermès uses to create its iconic leather goods. Known by collectors for developing a gorgeous patina, Box allows the true character of the leather to be seen. Box has a shine that transforms from a beautiful matte to a shiny gloss depending upon lighting, allowing the colors to transform based on light exposure. Box is currently a push leather and extremely rare to find by walking into a store, and even then has extremely long waiting lists.

I personally have loved this unique leather for many years, owning a few Box Leather HACs as shown in the attached photo of one of them atop the London Eye. I’ve found so many beautiful Box Kelly’s at open air markets in the outskirts of Paris. They truly are a sight to behold, many dating from the 1930s-1980s they are pieces of Hermès history! Birkins in Box are equally beautiful though less common than a Box Kelly.

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@alexstrickland

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Christie’s Box Collection available at upcoming auctions. Click here for details.

@aferfind is a Box Leather Collector

Box. I love Box! Superficially, I just love its smooth and clean look. Especially on simple Hermes designs, it’s so clean and chic. Aesthetically I also love its structured, strong and straight look. Of course it also has the allure of being an Hermes signature, heritage leather and now quite rare – so I can imagine myself as an authentic Parisian walking around with my heirloom Box bag (haha). Perhaps more philosophically, I love that Box carries with you your experiences. I still remember I was running to catch a train from Venice to Zurich when I got my first scratch on my first Box piece. Now every time I see it, I remember that train, that trip, that view of the Alps. Eventually it will blend in and that scratch will always be within the bag, just like that trip will always be with me.

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@aferfind

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Our Collaboration with Christie's

Box leather pieces at the Hermès boutique today are so rare that we often find ourselves turning to the secondary market. Luckily for us, the experts at Christie’s Handbags and Accessories deal with H bags crafted from the beautiful leather on a regular basis.

What’s particularly interesting is that prices for after market Box Leather bags are often more reasonable than those for other leathers. And while these bags may not be brand new, they carry a certain historic air with them—combining the heritage of the traditional material itself with stories of travels and adventures past on which these bags have surely been trusty companions. We have partnered with Christie’s to share a few beautiful Box Leather options here.  Be sure to click through the pictures and descriptions to read about all the details (even if it’s to educate yourself…).

Craving a Box bag for the holidays? 

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A BLACK CALF BOX LEATHER SELLIER KELLY 28 WITH GOLD HARDWARE

This classic black Kelly, reminiscent of Grace Kelly’s bag, is a timeless design which will have you well on your way to princessdom in no time—alright, perhaps that’s a bit farfetched, but it certainly has the potential to make you feel like the Princess of Monaco.

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A BLACK CALF BOX LEATHER CONSTANCE 23 WITH PALLADIUM  HARDWARE

We can’t get enough of mini Constance bags (Read: Hermes 101: The Hermes Constance Bagand this gorgeous Constance is no exception. The rarity of finding a Constance—the third in the trio of Hermès Holy Grail Bags—in this leather only adds to its appeal.

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A BLEU MARINE CALF BOX LEATHER BIRKIN 35 WITH PALLADIUM HARDWARE

While most Box Leather H bags are neutral, this dark blue Birkin stands out in subtle, restrained fashion. Evoking the deep sea, it’s hard to deny the oceanic, almost exotic quality of this unique Birkin.

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PLUME TPM IN BLACK BOX WITH PALLADIUM HARDWARE

Stepping aside from the Holy Grail Trio of Birkins, Kellys, and Constances, this Sac Plume gives a refreshing take on Box. The rigid, glossy leather fits the structured and sharp nature of this bag perfectly. Just imagine how well this would go with a nicely tailored outfit…

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A LIMITED EDITION BLACK CALF BOX LEATHER SO BLACK KELLY 35 RETOURNÉ WITH BLACK HARDWARE

This limited edition Kelly from Hermès’ “So Black” collection is undeniably striking. Crafted from Box, this rare handbag is the epitome of sleek and sophisticated. We love how its faint shine can reflect other colors in a muted fashion, adding hints of color to an otherwise monochrome bag.

Hermès Box Leather Recap

Photo courtesy: Christie's

BLEU MARINE CALF BOX LEATHER BIRKIN 35 WITH PALLADIUM HARDWARE, Click here for details.

Now that you’ve seen—and learned—it all, what is your personal take on Box Leather? Did you have any preconceptions of the heritage leather, and did you know about it previously? Has your opinion changed? Would you add a Box Leather bag to your wishlist? And if so, which bag?

We hope this has provided you with knowledge of all the ins and outs of an Hermès leather that’s near and dear to our collectors hearts, but do let us know in the comments if there’s anything you’d like to add to the discussion. We always love to hear your experiences with specific bags and leathers, as it enriches all of our understanding of our beloved Parisian brand and the whole picture of its craftsmanship.

Now, all you have to do is stay tuned for the special reveal… (we promise it’s going to be a good one)…

Read related articles below:

Hermès 101: Origins, Equestrians, and Aristocrats
Bringing Home a Slice of Hermès History: PurseBop’s Special Birthday Birkin
Aging Gracefully with Hermès Barenia Leather
Hermes Kelly Reveal: The Perfect Fit
The Hermes Kelly Encyclopedia

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XO

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