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Revisit the Rich History of Your Favorite Hermès Bags at a Brand New Exhibition in Qatar

This month, the National Museum of Qatar is inviting visitors for a very special exhibit. From May 28-June 11, French fashion house Hermès will be hosting a showcase titled Once Upon a Bag at the iconic space.

Preceded by three successful exhibits by the brand—Harnessing the Roots, which focused on harnesses; Rouges Hermès, which celebrated the brand’s deep connection with shades of red; and In Motion, which spotlighted objects that bring about a desire for outdoor elements—Once Upon a Bag is the fourth chapter of the Hermès Heritage cycle, and will share the rich history behind the fashion house through its bags.

Put together by Bruno Gaudichon, curator of La Piscine museum of art and industry in Roubaix, and scenographer Laurence Fontaine, Once Upon a Bag will help visitors trace the parallels between about 50 models and objects from Hermès’ Conservatoire of Creations and the Émile Hermès collection. The display will begin with a history of the Haut à courroies bag, a creation with equestrian roots which first came to be back in the 20th century. The exhibit will also help fashion connoisseurs understand the special stories behind its many different types of bags, ranging from clutches to ladies’ bags (like the iconic Kelly, along with  Constance, and Simone Hermès), and men’s bags (such as the Sac à dépêches, and Cityback basketball backpack), to travel bags and the sports bag. Visitors will also get to take a closer look at the brand’s intricately detailed clasps in a special room dedicated just to this facet of bag making, and can check out more eclectic creations, such as the ‘Bags of Mischief’ collection from the 1980s, which was designed by the chairman of Hermès from 1978 to 2006, Jean-Louis Dumas.

Inside the Hermès showcase. Photo: Kyung Sub Shin

The aim of Once Upon a Bag is to offer a deep dive into the label’s archives, and to highlight how bags at Hermès have transformed with the times and evolving societies. It was close to 1923 when Hermès came up with the Sac pour l’auto, its very first model to feature a functional zip, and since then, the French design house has put in great efforts to make its carry-ons more innovative, and even lighter. The trend hasn’t ceased today. Enthusiasts of the brand will agree that few manage to reinvent their pieces quite like Hermès does.

The Hermès Once Upon a Bag exhibit will take place from May 28-June 11 at the National Museum of Qatar, and is open to the public free of charge. 

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