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Article: Terrific Teddy's

Terrific Teddy's

Originally Published on BagWorld

For Hermes’ Fall 2005 runway presentation during Paris Fashion Week, showgoers were treated to the premier of a number of spectacular new bags. Under the aegis of the relatively recently appointed Creative Director Jean-Paul Gaultier, models walked holding unique examples of silk paneled Kellys and JPG Birkins , and an example of the much-coveted Sterling Silver Mini Kelly, which was originally designed in the 1990’s made an appearance. These, though, would not have the outsize impact of another design that made its debut on the same runway: The 35cm Mouton Shearling Teddy Kelly.

After Gaultier’s initial runway presentation in 2004 brought us both the Kelly Pochette and JPG Shoulder Birkin, expectations of a continued revamping of Hermes’ staple styles were high. And Fall 2005 did not disappoint. The Teddy Kelly was an instant hit with collectors. The soft Doblis Suede body contrasted with the creamy plush shearling trim. Fully lined in Chevre leather as any typical Kelly is, this bag was both whimsical and practical, and iconically a Kelly. At this point in time, Kellys were not as revered as Birkins, so Gaultier likely felt a bit less pressure when playing with this timeless design. Many of his best bags are versions of the Kelly, with the JPG Shoulder Birkin and the Jypsiere being Gaultier’s primary experimentations with the Birkin. On a much more limited scale, he interpreted the Birkin seasonally in the Leinage, Shadow and So Black styles, though these are far outweighed by the number of Kelly variations he championed.



In Fall 2007 another version of the Teddy Kelly graced Hermes’ runways: The Teddy Kelly Muff or Manchon. Shown and produced in five different colorways (Barenia, Chocolate Doblis, Sable Doblis, Shiny Black Porosus Crocodile with Mink and Matte Havane Porosus Crocodile with Mink), this is the most diverse of all the Teddy styles. examples of any are scarce on the secondary market, and collecting all five is a feat I have yet to encounter. While the practicality of a Muff is questionable at best, these unusual items can be expertly transformed into Kelly Longue-sized clutches by commissioning an expert leather craftsman to close the sides in a fully reversible manner.



The Fall 2009 Hermes runway show held another Teddy bag that I have never seen elsewhere; a Teddy Kelly Cut. And the following year Gaultier’s final Teddy Kellys would walk the Fall 2010 runway: The Alezan Teddy Kelly 40 and the ultra-rare Teddy Kelly Pochette. The Teddy Kelly 40 was different from its 35cm predecessor not only for its size and color but also for its Doblis sangles and shoulder strap, replacing Barenia on the 35cm version. The Teddy Kelly Pochette, which on the runway appears attached to an umbrella, I have only seen elsewhere once, with a reputable dealer. Considering the current craze for Kelly Pochettes, this is arguably the ultimate Teddy bag for a collector.



At Auction the original Teddy Kelly 35 has been by far the most prevalent style. Seventeen examples have sold at auction since their release, compared to only 3 examples of the 40cm version and three examples of Kelly Muffs. Prices for the Teddy Kelly 35 have varied over the years, but overall have trended upwards at about 8% annually since their release. Averaging over $41,600 in all, prices have been strong in recent years with averages since 2021 nearing $53,350. The record at auction was set by Christie’s in their June 2021 auction at $75,000, though examples have traded privately for more.


A New Era


Last year Hermes aficionados were treated to the teaser of a new Teddy Kelly; the Mini. Months later the first of these adorable cuties began to emerge on the secondary market. Rendered in two colorways; Gold/Fauve and Etoupe/Gris Caillou, the Mini Teddy Kelly’s release was accompanied by the rerelease of the 35cm Teddy Kelly. The new 35, though, has some notable differences; mainly the sangles which are now done in tonal Gold Siwft rather than Ebene Barenia as on the original version. Additionally, the new Teddy Kellys both big and small use Grizzly Suede rather than Doblis Suede, which has a fuzzier feel and was recently used in the redesign of the Grizzly Birkins. As of this writing, no Teddy Birkins appear to be in the works, but we can still hope!


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