Hermès, specialized in saddles, saddlebags and travel bags, brought the later Kelly Bag as a “Petit Sac Haut à Courroies” (or “Sac à dépêches pour dames”) as a small counterpart to the famous Hermès travel bags. Initially, the bag was not a sales hinge, but still remained permanently in the assortment.
The American singer Grace Kelly was the first to win the handbag. On the day of her engagement with the Prince of Monaco in early 1956, Grace Kelly was photographed with a “Petit Sac Haut à Courroies”, the photo was widely distributed. In the autumn of the same year, the now pregnant Grace Kelly, since April 1956 Princess of Monaco, traveled to the USA. On this journey she wore different handbags. This gave rise to the myth that the Princess had used a black specimen of crocodiles to cover her pregnancy. According to the legend, a photograph of the pregnant princess with the black Hermès bag is even published on the cover of LIFE magazine. In fact, such a cover never appeared, but the myth spread and the bag was increasingly associated with Grace Kelly. Hermès responded and renamed the model to Kelly Bag.
Kelly Bags are sold again for prices between 4.500 and 80.000 dollars, depending on the processed leather and metal, and they usually achieve comparable high resale prices at auctions, even if these are usually clearly below the revenues for Birkin Bags.
The Kelly bag is all about luxury. Incidentally, the Birkin bag was named after British actress Jane Birkin. This bag was introduced in 1978.