Wednesday, January 22

thoughts on the equestrian lover's bag: Hermes' Evelyne bag is classic, yet offers day to day chic style


 gotta love a lil' equestrian in pigtails:
Gabby at seven years old

Horse lovers rejoice

thoughts on why I love the everyday "it" bag 
from Hermes, the Évelyne...

Gabby and Oaks 2009
Since I watched a documentary about how the Hermes' Kelly bag was made on television when I was a young girl, I have been enamored with the French saddle maker company, Hermes.  The bag is touched by many hands and takes 18 hours to make utilizing old world craftsmanship.  It's a work of art, and many owners pass down their bags to the next generation (well, you'd have to in order to justify those hefty price tags).  Now, almost everyone I know loves the Birkin bag and it seems to have been all the rage this decade for those who want to carry a status bag.  The Birkin is a little heavy, not to mention it’s the price of a mortgage and can be a tad hard to carry day to day.  When it appeared on Sex and the City, it seemed everyone wanted the bag and some of the cache was lost on me.  But, I'm certainly not turning one down if you want to gift me one (just sayin').  While the Birkin has had it's time in the spotlight, unlike other fly-by-night fashion bag companies, the Hermes bags in general have spanned generations by creating quality handbags that almost everyone from the teen to the sophisticated grandmother can comfortably carry.  Some of their genius has been in styling and naming these special handbags after iconic, impressive women of the time.  
Gabby and Lefty 2012

Because we are a family of equestrian lovers, the bag for me that has long tugged at my heart strings is the Évelyne.  Originally showcased alongside the tack in the equestrian department, the Évelyne was meant for the groom who juggles many items while taking good care of the coveted horse.  This bag intrigues me.  It does not have the fancy ladylike association as Grace Kelly's iconic bag 
or the boho-chic association of Jane Birkin's beauty.
For goodness sakes this woman was so cool she carried a wicker basket as a hand bag around Paris! 
but the low-key sophistication of the Evelyne appeals to me and my lifestyle.  Named after Évelyne Bertrand who was once the head of Herme's riding department, it was first introduced in 1978 for holding grooming and tack paraphernalia.  You could find it next to your favorite saddle and crop, which is in part what makes it cool.  Not hailing from the fashion department, it has that “relaxed” sensibility that is refreshing.  I love the practicality of how it crosses the body, has a long, wide strap and leaves the equestrian hands free.  I also appreciate the perforated H, that was originally intended to keep moisture out of the tack and the bag, but now just adds to the whole package, with a nod to the French company without being too much logo in your face.  To digress a moment on the subject of logos, I am a tad annoyed at the oversized logos in fashion these days, aren't you?  The whole beauty of a logo is to be small and stay under the radar, except for the "in the know".
decadent to carry a white one with the color's short season,
but very stylish!
actress Kelly Rutherford loves Hermes and
here she is sporting the Evelyne
Gabby and Corey 2013

After a New York Magazine story published in 2012,  sales of the bag soared but regardless it’s always been my favorite in the Hermes family of bags.  The Kelly is lovely and believe me it is my dream bag, and yes I want one someday when I have lots of money set aside, but I hope an Evelyne drops from the sky this winter so I can take photographs ringside of my daughter and her team while they compete for their equestrian team in the hopes of qualifying for regionals and zone finals.
If I must choose, 
this gorgeous toasty, buttery color is my favorite of them all
be on the look out at the next equestrian event you attend for someone speeding by on a bike with this bag draped across them as they rush to the ring to groom their horse.  Wait, that's not how glamorous it is at muddy horseshows, but this is fashion so let's go with it...
Hermes':  on the Évelyne bag
"Hermes spared a thought for grooms who are also riders in love with their mounts. It was to enable them to carry brush, sponge, currycomb and other stable items soaked in horse-sweat, but without causing any damage, that the bag which now bears her name is constellated with air-holes. Their H-shape set in a horseshoe oval makes it so elegant that pedestrians and footsloggers generally have refused to let the riders have the thing to themselves. That is why the H of the Évelyne no longer suggests only material for grooming, but all kinds of other objects as well, all of them a help when thinking on the hoof."

Gabby and a young Jumper 2013
On another note about Hermes, I am happy they have moved into the home arena with tabletop, towels & more over the years.  The wallpapers and fabrics offered to the trade now are gorgeous, and I wrote about the Hermes' wallpaper collections when they were first introduced in the States in 2012. 
 another day at the barn in Ithaca 
(photo by Gabby Stephenson)
dedicated equestrians finishing barn chores in-between classes, sans the Evelyne bag.
One big congratulations and cheers for 
the "Big Red" Cornell University equestrian team:
 I hope you wind up victorious this season, and keep up the  stamina and dedication you have shown all year!

Happy Nesting
XO Tamara 
Gabby and Patty 2006