Hermès and Louis Vuitton are two of the best-known luxury brands with stunning collections of handbags – but which brand is right for you? Find out below from our analysis between Hermès vs Louis Vuitton!
Hermès and Louis Vuitton are some of the most beloved French luxury brands in the world, and the two have created some of the most iconic handbags out there.
If you’re looking to purchase a new luxury item from either brand and need help deciding, or simply want to know more about each of the brand’s histories, differences, and top products, we’re here to help you out!
Hermès vs Louis Vuitton
History of Hermès
The luxury brand, Hermès, was founded in 1837 – making it one of the oldest French fashion houses. Thierry Hermès first started the company as a harness workshop for the high-class equestrian society of France, later expanding to the noblemen of Europe.
The 1920s were a busy decade for the brand: the presence of Hermès grew as they opened stores in New York in 1924, then the first Hermès couture collection was shown in Paris in 1929.
The 1930s then saw the introduction of the Hermès leather goods that the company is now most famous for.
The Sac à dépêches was first added to the collection in 1935 – this bag was later named the Kelly bag after Life magazine, in 1956, featured a photograph of Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco holding this handbag in front of her stomach, apparently to hide her pregnancy. The ‘Kelly’ soon became a world-famous bag that everybody wanted to own.
Hermès square scarves, an iconic luxury item from the brand, were then introduced in 1937.
The 1980s saw the introduction of perhaps the most famous handbag in the world, the Birkin bag. The story goes that Jean-Louis Dumas, chairman of the brand, met British actress Jane Birkin on a flight, and she mentioned how her handbag was not practical enough.
So Birkin visited Dumas in France and the pair co-designed the Birkin bag in 1984 – since its introduction, it has become one of the most sought-after handbags in the world.
In 1997, world-renowned Belgian designer Martin Margiela became creative director of the womenswear collections. In 2003, he stepped down from this role as Jean-Paul Gaultier took over.
Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski is the current creative director of the brand and while their ready-to-wear collections are sublime, their handbags are unparalleled in the fashion world.
History of Louis Vuitton
This high fashion luxury brand was founded in France in 1854 by its namesake Louis Vuitton. The fashion house first found popularity in 1858 when Vuitton introduced the first flat-top trucks. These were revolutionary in travel for the elite as they were waterproof, lightweight, and could be stacked on top of each other.
Growth continued in 1885 when Louis Vuitton opened their first store in London, on Oxford Street. Then in 1888, the now-iconic Damier canvas was created – this was designed so other companies could not imitate the Louis Vuitton brand.
In 1893, the famous LV monogram was created – it is made up of the LV initials as well as quatrefoils and flowers which were inspired by the Japanese Mon designs of the late Victorian era. This monogram has been used on almost all Louis Vuitton leather goods ever since.
The Louis Vuitton Speedy bag, one of the best-selling bags for LV, was added to the brand’s collection in the early 20th century. Then the 1930s saw the introduction of other wildly popular Louis Vuitton bags, such as the Keepall in 1930 and the Noé bucket bag, which was originally intended to carry champagne in 1932.
The luxury brand continued to grow throughout the 20th century, then in 1987, the LVMH group was created. This was when alcohol brands, Moët et Chandon and Hennessy joined with Louis Vuitton to create a luxury goods conglomerate.
Some of the most famous creative directors have been a part of the LV brand, starting with Marc Jacobs in 1997 who created Louis Vuitton’s first ready-to-wear collection.
Kim Jones joined the brand in 2011 as artistic director of menswear, and a few years later, Nicolas Ghesquière became the creative director, replacing Marc Jacobs. Kim Jones then moved on to Christian Dior in 2018, and Virgil Abloh became artistic director for menswear.
Now, Louis Vuitton is one of the biggest fashion houses in the world with a wide range of products that includes expensive handbags, ready-to-wear fashion, shoes, jewelry, and accessories.
Differences between Hermès Vs Louis Vuitton
There are many important differences between these popular luxury brands that you need to be aware of, which will help in your decision between Hermès vs Louis Vuitton.
In many ways, Louis Vuitton and Hermès are similar in their availability. There are retail stores of Hermès and Louis Vuitton all over the world, as well as concessions in department stores and airports as well. Hermès and Louis Vuitton also sell their ready-to-wear collections and leather goods on their respective online sites.
However, there is one key difference, some of the most popular Hermès bags are not available in stores or online, whereas all LV bags are readily available. The Constance, Kelly, and Birkin bags, in particular, are so highly sought after that there is a waiting list in order to buy one of these bags. Sometimes people wait years to get their hands on the exact Hermès Birkin bag they are after.
This means that in their stores, the Hermès brand offers some of their handbags, a selection of small leather goods, scarves, and clothing. Getting your hands on a Birkin bag first involves inquiring with a sales assistant about purchasing an Hermès bag
2. Brand Reputation
As a historic French brand, Louis Vuitton has a great reputation for creating stylish, high-quality clothing and leather goods that will stand the test of time. The LV monogram that often covers Louis Vuitton bags is iconic and instantly recognizable.
However, Hermès has an impressive reputation on a whole other level. Hermès bags are heritage and heirloom pieces that are loved forever. They are so carefully made and so beloved that people will often form an emotional attachment with their Hermès bag.
The fact that Birkin bags in particular are so loved by celebrities also adds to the reputation of these bags on the luxury market. You will often see any member of the Kardashian family with their Birkin bag on social media, while Victoria Beckham apparently owns 120 Birkin bags in her collection.
The reputation of Hermès craftsmanship is unparalleled, and there are no bags as highly coveted than the Hermès bags.
3. Price Range
The price range of a designer bag is an important aspect that needs to be taken into account when deciding between the two brands.
Louis Vuitton handbags range from around $1,100 to about $6,000. This price can increase depending on the size of the bag and the fabric – exotic skins will obviously cost significantly more. Louis Vuitton implements annual price increases on their bags, so be aware that these prices may rise again shortly.
Hermès, on the other hand, offers much more expensive handbags. The range of handbags they offer online are on sale for between $3,600 and $10,300, but their handbags on the waiting list are much more pricey.
The Evelyn bags are available for between $1,800 and $6,000, Constance is on sale for between $4,000 – $30,000, the Kelly can go for anywhere from $9,000 to $40,000, while the famous Birkin bag, on the lower end can be $9,000, and at the top end, can go for up to $400,000+.
The consumer demand for these bags has only increased the price of these handbags.
As you can see, the price difference between these bags of both brands is significant and so your budget will play a big role in deciding between Hermès vs Louis Vuitton.
4. Materials and Craftsmanship
As with many high-end brands, the materials and craftsmanship that these handbags are made with are of extremely high quality.
The high price of Hermès products is so high because they only create their goods with the top quality craftsmanship and the most expensive materials. Some bags on offer from the brand may take between 18 and 24 hours to produce – for example, a Kelly bag can take up to 18 hours to create from scratch.
The high-quality craftsmanship also means that if your Hermès item should require repairing, you can take it to a Hermès store where it will be shipped to their atelier in France to be repaired.
Hermès is also world-renowned for using top-quality materials – for example, Epsom leather, as well as ostrich and crocodile leather. Some bags are also decorated with 18-carat gold and hundreds of diamonds making them some of the most expensive bags in the world.
Louis Vuitton bags are made with top-quality craftsmanship in France, the United States, Italy, and Spain – but they are not known to take as long to make as Hermès bags.
Louis Vuitton also uses high-quality leathers in the construction of their handbags, including cowhide leather, taurillon leather, and the famous Damier canvas, to ensure they are durable and stand the test of time.
5. Resale value
It’s common knowledge that the Hermès Birkin bag instantly increases in value as soon as you step out of a Hermès store. The bag has also been said to be a historically better investment than the stock market!
The limited availability of the bags, the demand, and the fact that you have to build a relationship with your sales associate all mean that there are multiple people who simply can’t or don’t want to buy the bag new, meaning they’ll opt for purchasing the item second hand. The same can be said for the Kelly bag (as well as the Contance bag in some instances).
Other Hermès products, such as wallets, shoes, and other handbags also hold their value well and are often sold close to the retail price.
Louis Vuitton is also a valuable luxury brand and this is reflected in their luxury goods resale prices. If well looked after and in top condition, popular and classic Louis Vuitton handbags hold their value and can be sold on for a great price. However, you’ll usually need to hold on to your bag for at least a couple of years in order to see your ROI – you won’t see an instant profit like in the case of the Birkin bag.
Louis Vuitton is often at the heart of art and fashion, partaking in collaborations with many well-known artists – the products from these collaborations are often only limited edition.
This means Louis Vuitton collaboration goods, such as the multicolor monogram that was designed by Takashi Murakami and the graffiti bags that were designed by Stephen Sprouse will often go for a higher price than was originally paid.
This is because they are in high demand, and you are not able to easily get hold of them anymore.
Our top Picks from Hermès Vs Louis Vuitton
Hermès and Louis Vuitton both have lots of stunning bags, so it really depends on your budget and your style as to which one you pick.
1. Tote bags
Tote bags can take many shapes and forms – and both of these options from luxury fashion brands, Hermès and Louis Vuitton, are iconic handbags.
From this stunning grey example of a Birkin bag, you can see why this handbag is in such demand.
The bag is made from grained leather, with rolled top handles that make it comfortable to carry and goatskin leather lining for the ultimate luxury. The bag secures with a fine belt that sits just below the handles and polished gold-plated hardware, which makes it totally unique and totally Hermès.
The Louis Vuitton Neverfull is a world-famous tote bag, beloved by women of all ages because of its timeless design and functionality.
This edition of the Neverfull is made from Louis Vuitton’s Damier Ebene canvas – this durable coated canvas not only looks amazing but will last for a long time too! The roomy interior means you can always fit all your essentials, whether you are off to work or on a day out with the family.
2. Mini Bags
If you are looking for the perfect small bag to carry your everyday essentials in then both of these options are perfect.
In this instance, Hermès has made their beloved Kelly bag into a mini version! This iconic bag has a slightly more sleek design than the Birkin.
The delicate top handle and long shoulder strap mean this is a completely versatile bag that can be carried or worn over the shoulder – perfect! The interior lining is made from lambskin and features a flat pocket to help you remain organized.
The Louis Vuitton Speedy is one of their oldest bags and recently has been made into a nano size for ultimate convenience.
This edition of the Speedy is made from pink denim which has been printed with the LV monogram – a totally unique bag that fashion lovers need in their collection! The adorable top handles and shoulder strap are made from vachetta leather for versatility and a luxurious finish.
3. Crossbody Bags
Crossbody bags are essential in any bag collection, and these options from Louis Vuitton and Hermès are incredible.
Made from pebbled calfskin leather, this structured crossbody Mini Sac Roulis bag will add a sophisticated, elegant element to any outfit. The front flap that sits under the gold-plated crossbar guarantees easy access, while the inside partitions mean you can always find everything you need.
The Louis Vuitton Coussin is perfect for both day and night. The sumptuous leather is embossed with the iconic LV monogram while the two different straps mean you can adapt the bag to fit your outfit. The gold chain link straps look amazing with evening looks, while the adjustable wide canvas strap is perfect for day-to-day use.
4. Evening bags
For the perfect evening bags, look no further than these two options from Hermès and Louis Vuitton.
The Hermès Constance bag is one of the most famous bags in the brand’s collection, and the instantly recognizable design has been transferred onto an evening bag.
The bag is made from Epsom leather which is known for its durability and has a removable shoulder strap that means the Constance can be worn over the shoulder or carried as a clutch. The bag is then finished off with the palladium H clasp.
This Felicie Pochette will definitely add a bit of eye-catching glam to any outfit. The gleaming gold chain strap is removable to create a versatile bag, while the envelope-style flap opens to reveal patch pockets and two inserts to help you always remain organized.
The stunning grey-beige leather has been embossed in pink with the LV monogram to create a beautiful bag.
Hermès and Louis Vuitton are among the world’s most coveted luxury brands and so buying a bag from either would be incredible. Deciding on which brand is better for you really depends on your budget and personal style.
You can never go wrong with a Hermès bag. They are completely timeless, heirloom pieces that are created with exquisite craftsmanship and the best materials you can find. They are completely unparalleled as a brand in their reputation; however, the price tag does reflect this and you need quite a large budget to buy an Hermès product.
Louis Vuitton is perfect for those of you looking for stylish design, a wide range of choices, top materials, and a much more affordable price range. Louis Vuitton may not have the same level of prestige as Hermès does, but they have created some of the world’s best-loved handbags in their instantly recognizable monogram canvas.
At the end of the day the decision comes down to personal choice – both brands have fantastic luxury goods on offer, so whichever one you pick you are bound to love!
We hope you loved this analysis and comparison of Hermès vs Louis Vuitton! For more luxury fashion related posts, check out the articles below.