The Suede Hermès Birkin
In terms of Hermes leathers, Suede stands alone. The soft texture of suede is unlike any other since suede comes from the hide’s inner layer, and other leathers come from the outer layer. Hermes has been producing bags in suede more or less throughout its history. Examples of suede Kellys can be found dating back to the 1960’s, and suede Birkins can be found from the style’s earliest years. These bags are done in what is called Doblis Suede. While Doblis means suede in French, there is another suede Hermes uses called Grizzly, so it’s important to clarify the distinction.
Grizzly Suede was introduced in 2012 in a line of ‘Grizzly Birkins’ that featured a body of this new suede trimmed with Swift leather. These Grizzly Birkins were produced in a number of color-ways and in sizes 30 through 40. Grizzly Suede was also used as the central panel in a series of Ghillies Birkins. Recently Hermes released new Grizzly Suede Birkins in 25cm and in a redesigned 30cm. These feature a full-front of Grizzly Suede without the Ghillies-inspired trim of the previous versions, and are lined in chevron toile canvas. These new Grizzly Birkins have a Swift leather flap and handles, sangles and piping similar to their predecessors, though are lined in Swift leather.
When it comes to Doblis Suede Birkins, there are two distinct types: All-Doblis and Doblis with Swift. The Swift leather in the latter category is used only on the handles, sangles and piping, while All-Doblis Birkins, as the name suggests, are rendered completely in Doblis Suede. These bags also utilize a unique leather for their lining: Nubuck. Seen almost nowhere else in Hermes’ repertoire, Nubuck is often confused with suede for its soft, almost-fuzzy, silky texture, but comes from the outer layer like other leathers. Doblis Birkins can be found in a wide range of colors in sizes 25 to 40.