In A While, Crocodile
by ABARA SG on Oct 12, 2022
Dear Luxury Seeker,
The answer to the question of why anyone wants a particular luxury item is always fascinating. What makes one thing desirable, and another much less so? Luxury items actually poke into the dark recesses in our brains – and our purses – the ones that are seduced by physical beauty and tactile sensuality, rather than reason and logic. Luxury is that most mysterious of things. But sometimes, a luxury item can go beyond that element of human desire, and transcend into something that is lusted after and hunted on a whole different level. In the arena of luxury handbags, the Holy Grail is a handbag made of the Himalaya Crocodile leather.
But what exactly is Himalaya Crocodile?
The Himalaya Crocodile is an unfortunate misnomer, whose name has frequently misled people to assume the skin is derived from the Himalayas. It isn’t. The name “Himalaya Crocodile” actually refers to crocodile leather finished in a shade that Hermès has named as such: The crocodile leather is finished in a particular combination of white, beige and grey, the result of a laborious tanning, dyeing and treatment process to evoke the snow-capped Himalayan mountains, which is the one and only place the Himalayas come into the equation here.
The Himalaya Crocodile is constructed from the leather of the common freshwater crocodylus niloticus (or Nile crocodile), expertly dyed. Visually, the Nile crocodile’s scales are larger and more symmetrical than alligator and saltwater crocodile, making it more desirable as compared to other exotics. Unendangered, the Nile crocodile, a massive reptile, is one of the most dangerous species of crocodile with one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom, and is responsible for hundreds of human deaths every year. The Nile crocodile is native to freshwater habitats in Africa, where it is widely distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa, occurring mostly in the central, eastern, and southern regions, and thrives in lakes, rivers, swamps, and marshlands.
The process to treat this crocodile’s skin is extremely time-consuming because the original colour of the Nile crocodile is dark bronze. Through various treatments, the skin is stripped away to reveal lighter pigmentation underneath; The combination’s light colours and shade transitions make it a particularly difficult and time-consuming thing to create. The sought-after light colours are especially hard to achieve on crocodile, so getting everything just right takes tremendous skill on the part of the artisan processing the hide. The gradation technique used is a painstaking and long process, resulting in that precious matte texture and durable quality.