This story first appeared in the Aug. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
You'll likely need an NBA player's salary to indulge in Hermes' latest offering.
To fete the Sept. 4 reopening of its 12,000-square-foot Beverly Hills boutique (434 N. Rodeo Drive) that's undergoing renovation, the brand is rolling out its first-ever basketball for a whopping $12,900. It's totally over-the-top -- the average Spalding one used by NBA players costs only $169.95 -- but the luxury purveyor is hoping a few of its die-hard fans will play ball. Only two have been produced at the special-orders atelier in Paris under the creative direction of Pierre-Alexis Dumas.
The fashion brand, which has turned out footballs and soccer balls in the past, eschewed its signature orange in favor of a California-chic, cool blue for the bull calfskin ball that's made using the same hand-stitched technique as Hermes' coveted Birkin bags.
"It represents the sky, the ocean and all the beautiful pools that are a way of life in L.A. and Southern California," says Robert Chavez, Hermes U.S. CEO, who says that the exceptional quality of the leather as well as the artisanal craftsmanship account for the ball's price.
As for whether the sporty piece de resistance is meant to be for play or display, Chavez, who grew up in Texas and enjoys watching football, tells THR, "It certainly can be used for play -- the leather is sturdy, and why not make such a unique item come to life on the court?" Just don't lose it in the bushes.