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Mystère of the Malice

Malice

The Hermès Malice bags are one of the most playful and inventful models to come out of the House of Hermès. They are also one of the most mysterious, with their origin being the subject of various storied rumours.

What we Know

The key distinction of the Malice bags are their colorful patters made from several cut leather pieces, which were subsequently stitched together. A unique and extremely meticulous art of marquetry. The Malice bags were produced in a very small quantity and only over the period of two years, 1989 and 1990.

Vintage Malice bags, each distinctive design telling a different story

What we Hear

Because of the unique design of each bag, many say that they were made to specifically refer to different store openings and events. One of the most exciting stories revolves around the “Vive la France” Malice bag. Featuring the French flag crafted in blue and white box leather and red in courchevel leather, the bag was released in 1989, which would signify that it was made to honor the bicentenary of the French Revolution (1789). Many say, as a gift to France’s then First Lady, Bernadette Chirac…

Left: Menchari working on a window design, Right: With Dumas

What we Think

Under the brilliant and legendary Jean Louis Dumas, President of Hermès from 1978 to 2006, the House promoted a young artist, Leïla Menchari, to do the store windows of 24 Faubourg Saint Honoré. Leïla Menchari, who recently passed away at the age of 93, a victim of Covid-19, arrived in Paris from Tunisia, the first woman to ever be admitted to the École de Beaux Arts in Tunis. Her vision and creativity were captivating and together Jean Louis Dumas, she created magic at each season in the windows of Faubourg Saint Honoré.

Windows designed by Menchari had a fairy-tale like aesthetic, attracting customers from around the globe

The unveiling of the windows became an event, with customers travelling from across the world to witness the new displays, each more elaborated and fairy-tale like than the last. Each window told a story and these Malice bags, were most likely created to fit distinct window themes and narratives.

Malice, which means the gaze of a man who is half genius, half magician, describes perfectly the creative vision of Jean Louis Dumas and the late Leïla Menchari. A piece of history and creative genius that makes the Hermès Malic Bags some of the rarest and most covetable bags to own.

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