Hermès Rouge Venitienne Marwari GM, Ebene Barenia 31cm Trim 1, And Indigo Barenia Evelyne PM
Hermès Rouge Venitienne Marwari GM, Ebene Barenia 31cm Trim 1, and Indigo Barenia Evelyne PM


Hermès Rouge Venitienne Marwari GM, Ebene Barenia 31cm Trim 1, and Indigo Barenia Evelyne PM

Hermès Rouge Venitienne Marwari GM, Ebene Barenia 31cm Trim 1, and Indigo Barenia Evelyne PM

Recently in the comments—perhaps when the navy Kelly appeared—I was asked about my current collection.  How has it transformed?  What gets reached for the most and why?

Living in the city and either walking or taking public transportation (I dislike cars—and thus by extension cabs) changes what I carry in my bags.  I don’t carry extra.  I used to carry so much—notepad, pens, checkbooks, water, computer.  I don’t anymore—we’re talking cards (but not too many), coins (ditto), keys, hand cream, throat lozenges, phone, and the metro card.  With this dramatic shift, I’ve quickly fallen in love with smaller bags.  I can actually use them now!  Plus, in a small apartment, there’s only so much footprint I have in the bedroom for setting down that day’s bag.

The bigger shift still has been my return to the shoulder bag.  There’s something intensely chic about the classic shoulder shapes—like the simple bucket, the simple envelope, or the even simpler slabs of leather stitched together like in the Trim 1 or Marwari.  When walking around the city, all I see are bling-tastic bags with lots of hardware or do-dads or logos, so I’m drawn to simplicity more than ever now and hardware is restricted to zippers or other small functional elements.

Hermès Peau de Porc Kelly 32cm, Jigé PM in black and natural Chamonix, and Market GM in Paille Toile and Saddle Leather

Hermès Peau de Porc Kelly 32cm, Jigé PM in black and natural Chamonix, and Market GM in Paille Toile and Saddle Leather

My most used bags, too, have changed since moving here, and this has motivated what I’ve acquired this year.  Before the move, I’d stopped pulling out the Marwari because it was so heavy loaded up; now, I use it every week.  It’s hands down the coolest, chicest bag style I can think of.  I use it for jaunts into Soho, walks in Williamsburg, and meetings with clients (it fits my computer! clapping!); it’s easy to carry as long as I don’t put much in it and the subtle terra-cotta red looks wonderful with my entire wardrobe.  Plus, it’s simply beautiful.  Few bags better showcase the very leather in which it’s constructed, and Hermès Clemence is gorgeous leather.

The only leather that might be even more beautiful than those giant slabs of RV Clemence is, of course, Barenia.  I’ve always loved saddle leather, but I’ve learned how carefully it needs to be chosen to work with a walking city life.  Walking means rubbing, and black/gray/dark silk, cotton, denim, and wool (even after multiple cleanings) does not work well with Vache Naturelle on a daily basis, at least not in a bag that rubs against the legs.  Peau de Porc (pigskin), on the other hand, works exceptionally well in the same situations.  So does darker Barenia, like Ebene and Indigo.  Natural Barenia, however, exhibits similar challenges as VN, so it’s something I have to consider in choosing a bag or putting together the day’s outfit.

The bags most often used  from my collection: the above bags plus the Ebene Barenia Picotin

The bags most often used from my collection: the above bags plus the Ebene Barenia Picotin

I love my Kelly bags (especially the gold pigskin), and I love my Jigés despite the big “H” (which I generally hold hidden against my torso, along with the “H” of the Evelyne), but in a city that is at once filled with the trappings of luxury and with the evidence of financial struggle, I tend to favor the quieter Hermès bags or Longchamp totes on an everyday basis.  Sure I could go even further down Nondescript Road, but I’m not about to turn away from the quality of Hermès leather and craftsmanship.  For this reason, the Market bucket bag, the Marwari, and the Trim (especially the thin one) seem especially luscious and luxurious.  It’s like a woman showing off beautiful skin rather than makeup.

So what about the bags I’ve released the past few months?  The Indigo Drag: It really was too big.  You only need to see it on “C” to grasp this—it belongs on a Glamazon.  A Vert Anis/Orange Chèvre Picotin PM (really, yes, I had this): I didn’t think I would use the Picotin in New York City once I got here.  I might regret making such a quick decision.  Rose Shocking Karo GM: Pink really isn’t for me.  I was never going to use this as a clutch.  Vache Naturelle Bolide 35cm: See above.  When releasing it, I actually asked (okay, grilled) the buyer about her wardrobe and lifestyle—I wanted to make sure the adoption was perfect.  It is.  I’ve since seen it, and the Bolide and her mama are happy.

And then, what are the revelations?  31cm Barenia Trim 1: This is the one of the most elegant bags I own.  It is compact, infinitely useful, gorgeous to touch, and hangs on the shoulder with the precision of a butterfly’s wing.  I love this bag; this was the perfect leather and perfect color for such a piece.  Jigé clutch: Now that I’ve trimmed down what I usually carry, it is effortless to grab this for a day or evening.  I use this more than anyone, including me, could anticipate.  It’s the one bag I would gleefully buy in the boutique if Madison would ever get in the PM size (they don’t order it).  Picotin: I was wrong—the Pico is super easy to wear in the city.  The reason I truly, truly love mine is the Barenia leather—it’s thick and stands strong still (look at it!).  But Bleu Electrique Clemence would turn my head.  Indigo Evelyne PM: Wow.  I’ve had an Evelyne before and sold it—it was toile, meaning I couldn’t wear it with jeans, and the design made my dresses ride up in the summer as the bag rubbed against the silk.  In a dark leather, I wear this all the time with jeans and pants.  But it can’t be worn with creams and whites—it rubs off on them.  Sigh.

Colors.  Most of my collection is composed of neutrals or red.  This feels right.  A full range from black to light gold, including blue, covers all bases.  The toile and natural saddle leather Market bag is my most-used summer bag, proving the wisdom of having one light bag in one’s wardrobe.  And then there’s red.  Red improves everything.  But I’m starting to move into color. . . But let’s save something for next time, yes?


So what about an update on the skin?  Biopsies of my skin have been taken, so I wait to see the outcome.  Next is the big allergy testing panel on the back.  It’s all a long process, but at least things are moving forward.  That is more than enough for a celebration.


This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. The Bolide! Sob!
    Is that the raisin Trim, or a new/different color?
    Also – I seem to have missed the navy Kelly …

    1. Simone, I seemed to throw a lot your way! 🙂

      Yes, do cry. Tears are worthy.

      This is a different Trim than the raisin—which is safe tucked into the closet also. I’ve actually become even more enamored withe the Trim shape since coming here . . . to the point where I have three now in different sizes. So the raisin gets attention now.

      The navy Kelly appeared a few weeks ago, but you’ll see her again.

  2. I love this stunning grouping and the backgorund – one of your textile treasures? – gorgeous visual! Your Mawari always stuck in my mind and I simply never tire of seeing it in that sumputous red – so glad she still has an important place in your collection. The other thing I love is your thought process on individual bags and as a whole especially with your move to NYC. They really are all very lovely and beautifully cared for!

    1. Thank you, silkpathdiary. Yes, the textile is one of my Indian treasures. It comes from a tribal community in the desert area of the Punjab; it’s a wedding shawl.

      I’m honored by your admiring glances at the Marwari; I’m so glad it is still with me (and lucky, too).

      And thank you for seeing the care given to these bags. Some came to me little used, and some were in tired condition. I hope they all glow now.

  3. I adore your bag collection. On the other side, you also told loudly one of my often thoughts and feeling: I realized I am more and more hesitant to use any Hermes-visibly-labelled goods, for the feeling of “financial struggle” around me, as you named it. Somehow, I tend to hide Hermes label on my scarves and all the “visible proofs” of their origin. Feel uneasy when exposing them. Maybe it is an absurd, but obviously reality of the circumstances we live in. (Must say I live in much smaller and much less busy city in Europe, which makes things even more complicated.) I know many of you will be against this…please, understand I had to tell it somewhere. Thanks for listening 🙂

    1. Lina, I empathise completely – I too am in a smaller European city and only carry my ‘under the radar’ H bags here (Garden Party, Picotin, Evelyne (turned inwards like you AA!). My Birkin is really only used when I travel – I just don’t feel comfortable displaying such ‘obvious’ luxury in our current economic climate. My H scarves – well, I feel these are pretty ‘under the radar’ anyway – I don’t tend to go for the ones with the overt branding. AA – great collection, and I too am amazed you let that gorgeous Bolide go, but you are so right to build your wardrobe around your current lifestyle – I have lots to learn from you 🙂

    2. Both Lina and sushi queen,

      Thank you for chiming in—I feel like our perspectives are not much discussed. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand—my Kelly bags are among my favorite pieces, but I tend to wear them in very specific situations: when visiting the Upper East Side (which is my normal NYC environment, as it’s the closest spot for even a drugstore!), when visiting Chelsea, and when meeting up with friends who adore luxury too. But in other places . . . I’m glad I’m not alone in considering these issues. I hope everyone knows I wouldn’t ask others to make the same choices, I’m just developing my way of navigating what is both the fashion capital of US and the most economically divided city in the country—with many acquaintances who are artists and activists. Plus, it can simply be easy to use a Longchamp so often! 🙂

      sushi queen, I was surprised by the Bolide decision, too, but after so many months without using the bag . . . I just knew. Peau de Porc is the better choice for my lifestyle, and it’s just as beautiful as Vache Naturelle. So really, I traded one beauty with another.

  4. Love seeing your bags as always – I send kisses to that glowing gold Kelly!! But also some very useful food for thought on the practicalities of style, material and colour transfer. I have been giving serious consideration to whether an Evelyne in tan, navy or blue would be a practical investment for me as a casual bag but the concept of colour rubbing on my light coloured clothes hadn’t occurred to me (I’m usually a tote carrier). I will have to think more carefully. Susan, London

    1. Susan, Keep thinking about the Evelyne and the right color. It’s important to make a wise choice, and I actually find it a challenging bag to choose right! But others have found a gold or etoupe Evelyne the absolutely perfect bag, and I imagine those would do well with rubbing against either light or dark clothes.

      I wish you luck with your decision.

  5. I was sad and surprised you sold your beautiful VN Bolide but I’m glad she went to someone who loves and appreciates her. I AM happy that your Picotin passed the NYC test ! I hadn’t seen any action shots and I was starting to think maybe it didn’t work for you. It’s one of my favorite H styles – I could have one in every color I think….so glad you’re happy with it. And that Marwari in Rouge Venetian!! Never get bored with seeing it. I think that red (along with sanguine) was one of those underappreciated H colors in recent years and they are both such understated, soft, and lovely reds.

    Good luck on your tests,,, and no…… I can’t picture you with an orange/vert anis bag. 🙂

    1. LOL. Thank you, Maria, for your thoughts on vert anis/orange. 🙂 I appreciate how it soothes my nerves.

      Yes, yes, yes. The pico passed the test. In fact, I’m quickly becoming a very contented fan of this simple, useful bag. I can imagine many colors that it would be wonderful in. My problem is that I feel the same for the Trim and Jigé, hahaha.

      My Marwari thanks your admiration of the RV red. It was certainly unappreciated, and yet I rarely ever see them go on market. I bet the women who own RV knows how amazing it is. The same could be said of Sanguine, which is a color I would love to own one day.

  6. You have a beautiful collection of bags. I am still loving the red Marwari – that was the first H bag I saw you with in pictures. I remember the enthusiasm and caring adoration for the VN Bolide (along with stunning pictures in OK nature) and think you should have kept the green Pico. The latter was almost like a bag revelation – it was so cool. The luster of your Jige is incredibly beautiful and I have always loved the shape of your Market Bag which is so classic. I have an old Dooney and Burke in that shape, made of navy fabric and VN. They were cool bags when they were still made in the USA.
    Thanks for sharing and I hope there will be a solution on the skin troubles.

    1. Thank you, Tanja, for the compliment and your wishes. I certainly wish I could keep every piece of H that has passed through my hands, but I also love knowing that something is being used and loved when it might have sat too long in my own closet. I try to keep a balance between special occasion/ little-used pieces (Dalvy, rouge vif Kelly) and the ones that should be outside regularly.

      Dooney and Burke and Coach both used to make incredible bags. My favorite Coach was their bucket shoulder bag—I had maybe four over the years, all from the mid-’90s. Perfect leather, perfect shape, and I regret giving them to friends or sisters because they never understood the beauty of them and quickly tossed them. Sigh. It’s one reason I love H-lovers—they would never be so flippant.

  7. Oh I love family photos! 🙂 I also second that beautiful shawl used in the background. I’m surprised that you released the bolide, the color was so beautiful on you. Do you still have the masai?

    1. Thanks! I was surprised too about the Bolide, and I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been able to know the buyer personally. I wasn’t about to let it go unless the woman herself was exceptional—and she is.

      While I’ve often considered a Masai, I’ve never acquired one. I wonder which piece you’re talking about, as I can’t figure out what else looks similar to the Masai.

        1. The entire movie is a gorgeous lookbook of bags and fashion and jewelry. Swoon. My only hesitation about the Masai is that, when I tried it on years ago at the boutique, it didn’t sit on my shoulder easily, instead falling off. Sigh.

  8. I have to add to the comments about the gleam of the leather – your collection is obviously very well cared for (as it should be). These bags are used and loved – appreciated. So glad that the raisin trim is still around! Such a great neutral, yet a color. Your editing seems spot on. The trim has the attitude of a city bag; it can be casual and yet elegant. It can go anywhere. Though more casual, the evelyne is also versatile – cross body is simply how we live in a pedestrian world. Shoulder bags are ideal for city life. I had wondered if the bolide had been passed along into new hands as the new cognac-ish kelly was a similar color.

    * oh! I also have reservations about the evelyne in regard to the large branding – it seems right up my alley otherwise. Its the shape I seem to be drawn to – similar to the vintage coach top zip I favor out of my own bags. And of course I am not making any judgements – its just a personal quirk.. I had actually noticed in a picture of you walking that the H was turned inward, and I immediately understood your reasoning. Its a lovely bag, and the color is just ideal. That style is veeery tempting.

    Good luck on the skin-care front.

    1. Thanks, Suz. I’m happy that this post has drawn out other “quieter” users of fashionable or elite pieces. Because of how I wear the Evelyne, I never encounter people staring at it in “that” way as they will a Kelly. It can be a subtle, sophisticated casual bag, so I highly recommend it. Just think carefully about the color that will work best with your wardrobe.

      You hit it on the nail—the porc Kelly ultimately serves the same function as the VN Bolide in terms of color and general use. Given the size of my collection, I of course have functions covered with multiple bags, but I try to cultivate some diversification. 🙂

      1. Couldn’t agree more about the Evelyne – I always wear mine with the H facing in (actually my SA told me this is the ‘correct’ way to wear it. It’s my most used bag – and mine is Cafe Clemence (dark chocolate brown) – I have never experienced any colour transfer when wearing with pale colours – Hope this helps! 🙂

  9. Hello! What glorious subject matter and photographs. I’d love a little booklet of your beautiful photographs of your collection, (& those of your H pals too!) to enjoy at leisure. Sigh. What a treat this post has been. Many thanks – very generous of you. By the way I’m sure it’s occurred to you, that you so much admire the beauty and simplicity of the skins/leathers of your treasured bags, while your own poor skin is so troubled. I thought of this a few posts back but didn’t comment. I hope you don’t mind. Like a Borges short story.

    1. Thanks, Justine. You caught the meaning well re. skin and leather. 🙂

      I am not above going through the pages and pages of pictures found on the Purse Forum . . . it’s lovely to pass some dreamy time taking in all the shapes and colors and leathers. I heartily recommend going over there! But you certainly inspire some thoughts about a future project. Maybe a picture book of Hermès might be a tremendously fun thing to produce! 🙂

  10. Lovely seeing ths group, all beautiful in their own way .

    Oh where is your first born Raisin Trim ? Still my favourite on you.
    I also feel very conscious of carrying luxury brands in the urban area where I live , it’s a very mixed area and I wouldn’t get any pleasure from doing my local shop adorned with H .
    The Evelyne is fine and a good choice for a low profile useful bag .

    1. Oh, yes, Estrella—the raisin trim is there. It’s currently situated in an alcove in the closet, waiting for fall.

      Knowing how much you love and use your Evelyne is very instructive. You are so careful about how and where you use H, so if this is so very useful in your life, it goes without saying that it blends elegantly into the varied world around us.

  11. I am more and more persuaded that a Barenia Trim or Picotin should be next on my own list! Every time I see yours, I’m tantalized.

    Can’t wait to see what comes of this hint about something colorful!

  12. Thank you for sharing photos of your beautiful bags. I am loving that red one like crazy, although they are all gorgeous. I tend to lean towards the more unstructured look. Keep these posts coming!!!!!

  13. Such an interesting and informative post, Catherine. Also, I have loved reading the comments, which make me feel even more certain that your blog attracts a community of thoughtful and sensitive women of style! Such a pleasant place to visit! I am considering acquiring a Picotin as a quiet bag that I could carry pretty much anywhere with ease. Ah, this question of luxury and branding. More and more I want beauty that barely whispers – only to me and those who recognize it. As for the perforated H of the Evelyne I read somewhere or perhaps was told by my SA that the bag has its origins in the tack room and the perforations were for ventilation or some such. This for me signifies an authenticity that I like – yes, its an Hermes H but it had its origins before our times of blingy branding! I live in a historic New England suburb and am often in my car (sigh) so mostly I can enjoy my H treasures without concern. When I go into the city I don’t feel comfortable with too much display – even on our luxury shopping street there are the homeless and dispossessed never mind those who are trying to make ends meet on a minimum wage .

  14. Helane,Catherine indeed has a unique blog where she shows great sensitivity to the wider world whilst retaining an unbridled (NPI] appreciation of the superb craftsmanship of her beloved collection.
    It’s an inspiring blog too , many a time I’ve hit the ‘buy’ button after seeing her modelling a scarf to perfection !

    Speaking candidly I find most high end fashion blogs quite a turn off , I think a combination of great taste, unusual choices and a great writing style keep us all on tenterhooks waiting for the next post.

    C, three cheers and keep the posts coming ! Helane , enjoy your fabulous Picotin .

    1. Hello Estrella! So nice to read your comment – thank you. I agree! The truly personal blog is a rarity now and the combination here of beautiful aesthetic choices in all aspects of life does make it a unique place. .

      1. Helane and Estrella, Both of you would make me blush—except that the true stars, of course, are you all. I feel very honored in how you visit and share—there’s real camaraderie and friendship on these pages. It’s the reason I keep sharing as well, as it’s actually outside my everyday comfort level to “celebrate” my own self publicly if you know what I mean. And when I meet in person someone I’ve known through these bags, it’s *the* delight.

        Estrella: big hug.

        Helane: The pico is a great bag for what you desire. It’s not only subtle in its beauty (it’s *all* about the leather or color or both) but also a great canvas for displaying scarves. Pop one on top, and it’s visual feast. It’ll be one of the principle ways I’ll keep using my scarves this summer.

  15. This is such a diverse and luscious collection, such a pleasure looking over all your photos. I am waiting for the right Trim to come along after hearing so many positive testimonies. I have a Marwari that sort of serves the same purpose, but I think the zipper and more structured look could come in handy as well…
    Hope your skin is on the mend!

    1. Thank you, Christina. Anything to do with skin is a long road, but fingers crossed.

      In my mind, the Marwari and Trim are very different looks, though I would hesitate to get both in the same color. I have to be careful about that . . . BUT I do like the Trim better *without* the zipper; I never use the zipper anyway. 🙂

  16. I came here over the Bavarian Leonhardi scarf you showed me at TPF.

    And I am so in love with your collection! I formally am glued to the screenm, wounderful items, especially the red dalvy, I instantly fell in love with.
    Wounderful blog, I bookmarked it!

    Grüße aus Deutschland (leider nicht Berlin 😉


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