Hermes’ crocodile chiffon t-shirt attracted passing comment when it appeared on the Paris runway during their spring/summer 2013 menswear show last June. “This is as casual as croc is ever going to get,” Style.com commented. But casual does not mean cheap. One croc tee is retailing in the New York City Hermes flagship on Madison Avenue for a sticker-shocking $91,500 US.
Fashionista.com confirmed the price with the store, which noted there were a range of chiffon crocodile shirts ranging in price from $60,000 to $100,000 US. The skin is dyed and specially designed to be lightweight, as crocodile skin does not sound like the most breathable fabric for t-shirt season.
Crocodile skin has been a key material in catapulting luxury fashion into an unprecedented price bracket. The Row’s crocodile backpack, designed by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, retails for a staggering $39,000. PPR, the company behind mega-luxe brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Saint Laurent, just added French crocodile skin company France Croco to its portfolio, exemplifying the skin’s permanent home in high fashion.
Hermes has found its crocodile bags have been in such high demand that the company now breeds the reptiles themselves on farms in Australia. In 2009, Reuters reported Hermes was selling 3,000 crocodile bags per year and struggling to meet the demand. Each bag requires three or four crocodiles to produce. I don’t know how many crocodiles it takes to make a t-shirt, but if they want to keep demand down, a price tag that’s nearly six figures seems like a good place to start.