Some owners of Hermès' iconic leather pieces are getting more than they bargained for. Due to a batch of "badly tanned" leather from one of Hermes' suppliers, the bags, which some people paid $20,000 or more for, smell like weed whenever they are heated up in warm temperatures, like in direct sunlight or a hot car.
Hermès has become the standard for luxury when it comes to designer handbags, and counts Victoria Beckham and the Kardashians as some of its best customers. One of the most popular Hermès styles, the Birkin—named after actress Jane Birkin—is one of the bags which are affected. Certain versions of the Kelly bag and the Elan clutch are also said to be giving off the strange odor. The problem appears to be worldwide as Hermès bags are produced and distributed to boutiques in such limited quantities. They are often on back or special order, with some customers waiting years to get their hands on the exclusive bags.
The strong smell has become such a problem that many disgruntled customers are taking to internet forums to discuss the problem. One owner of a Hermès Kelly bag posted on PurseBlog: "After riding in the car with her for about 30 minutes, I smelled what I thought was a dead skunk. Another 30 minutes later I could still smell the dead skunk, and I thought it was odd, but never imagined it could be my bag. I keep [it] in an armoire... When I opened the cabinet door this morning, the smell hit me, and I immediately knew it was the bag."
A source told Page Six that some people are even returning the bags to Hermès boutiques across the States because of the stench, and that the bags are being shipped back to Paris because "nobody knows quite how to deal with this embarrassing situation."
Hermès has yet to comment on the issue.