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Hermes gives us a sneak peek behind the leather, in celebration of its 125th birthday.

That’s right – the luxury brand that has inspired decade long waiting lists, countless reproductions and a whole Sex and the City episode is finally opening its doors to the public in an exhibition entitled Leather Forever. As well as being able to get up close and personal with some of the most iconic bags and items of the brands history, visitors will be able to mingle with the creators behind the magic-the Parisian workshop’s artisans, who will be taking up residence at the exhibition.

Examples of the famous Kelly and Birkin bags will be on show, as well as pieces commissioned by the Duke of Windsor as gifts for Wallis Simpson and four unique bags representing England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, that will be auctioned later. All proceeds from this will be going to the Royal Academy.

Artistic director, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, and sixth generation family member explains his excitement:

‘Sometimes I picture my ancestor Thierry Hermès back in 1837, his eyes lighting up as he breathes in and feels the leathers of the saddle and harness workshop he has just set up in Paris…the same ’olfactory joy thrills me today’

You might not have such an extensive love affair with the historic brand but no doubt you will find a tickle of excitement in drooling over some of history’s most coveted bags.

Hermès Leather Forever, 6 Burlington Gardens, London W1. Open 8th May – 27th May 2012, Monday to Sunday 10 am until 6 pm and on Fridays until 10pm.