Quelle Contrast!

Exploring Hermès’ Unique Interpretations of Colorblocking

Colorblocking is nothing new, but Hermès has a particular way of going about it.


For Spring/Summer 2011, Hermès released a peculiar collection of Birkin and Kelly bags. Their pastel tints mixed with radiant neon hues gives this collection, aptly named “Candy”, an extraordinary effect.

This collection is characterized by preset color combinations, done in Epsom leather, with either Palladium or Permabrass hardware.

Definitive list of color combinations include:

  • Blue Celeste exterior, Mykonos interior
  • Kiwi exterior, Lichen interior
  • Lime exterior, Gris Perle interior
  • Rose Tyrien exterior, Rubis interior
  • Jaune d’Or exterior, Potiron interior
  • Brique exterior, Orange H interior
  • Blue Electric exterior, Mykonos interior
  • Etain exterior, Cobalt interior
  • Rose Jaipur exterior, Gold interior
  • Rouge Casaque exterior, Blue Thalassa interior
  • Tosca exterior, Rose Tyrien interior


This highly sought after stamp first appeared in Hermès handbags in 2008, and has since become an icon in its own right. A bag with this coveted Horseshoe Stamp (HSS) is only available to the crème de la crème of Hermès clientèle, but with some secondary market sleuthing, you can nab one of your very own.

The stamp itself denotes that the bag in question was created by order of a particular client. Whether it is the color combinations, material combinations, or even the stitching, the Horseshoe Stamp tells all!

Look for it next to the “Hermès Paris, Made in France” brand foil stamp. Do you see a Horseshoe?


In 2013, Hermès created a line of Birkin bags that combined three different types of leather (Swift, Tadelakt, and Clémence), with three different colors involved (Étoupe, Argile and Rose Jaipur). All Cascade Birkins were affixed with rare and equally stunning brushed palladium plated hardware, in juxtaposition to the more traditional shiny palladium.

If you are particularly adept at pursuing the rare and desirable, you may have found another version of the Cascade, with Gris Tourterelle, Moutard, and Sanguine at the helm, done solely in Clémence and Swift leathers.


In 2011, 2012, and even as late as 2013, Hermès was cooking up another incredible color blocking idea, only this time with exotic skins! Just like that, the Club Birkin was born, coming in a variety of color combinations. Each Club Birkin is adorned with a dual strip of lizard, separating the main color panels into this intriguing pattern.

Top Secret Note: Not all Club Birkins are done with lizard trimmings! In 2013, at the tail end of their production of this line, Hermès created one last hurrah: the Indigo Fjord leather, Rouge Casaque Crinolin, and Fauve Barenia leather trimmed edition.


Somewhat of a variation on a theme, the Flag Birkin takes Hermès craft to a nautical level. Meant to mimic sailing flags, Hermès took their classic canvases in combination with stunning Fauve Barenia leather to create a stark, geometric “flag” effect that seems meant for the deck of a careening yacht.

To top it all off, each Flag Birkin is ornamented with rare permabrass hardware.


Created in 2012 and produced until 2013, the Arlequin Birkin and Kelly bags take the award for most complex color blocking. Coming in two different combinations of six colors each, the Arlequin bags have garnered much warranted attention.

Perplexing as they are mesmerizing, just like the harlequins from which they get their name.


Translated as “flash” from French, Éclat bags are as intuitive as the name suggests. Each bag is created by pairing a bright color with a darker color, using the lighter color as a “highlight”, where there normally would be shadows, such as the base, interior, and the back of the sangles. This creates a tantalizing “flash” effect in unexpected places. The first of these Éclat bags was done in 2011 in Mykonos, where the base, interior, and behind the sangles are stark white, creating a shocking effect that was unprecedented. Later that year and into 2012, Hermès added other color combinations with astonishing effects.

Unlike many of the other collections on this list, the Éclat colorway has since been extended to many of their leather goods lines, including Jypsieres, Lindys, So Kellys, and more.


In 2016, Hermès began to produce what on the surface may seem like an odd, horseshoe-lacking custom bag. However, Verso is where two distinct colors, one interior and one exterior, are seemingly harmonized in a fixed set of intentionally designed combinations. These color combinations are repeated, unlike their horseshoe-bearing relatives, and are generally created in the newest colors of the season, as they are introduced.

Are you sure you want to logout?

Thank You

for subscribing

Enter the following code at checkout to receive $50 off orders $750+, $100 off orders $2,000+ or $200 off orders $4,000+

Offer valid until Jul 22, 2020.
One time use only and cannot be combined with other offers.


We will send you an email to reset your password.
Log In
Log in with Facebook
Please check your email for instructions on how to reset your password.


Measurements ×
Exchange Periods
Exchange Now
* Percentage of original purchase price does not include discounts or promotions