The best-kept secret of those wealthy enough to enjoy it, this 200-year-old luxury designer brand doesn’t mind its low profile. You see, if you have the cachet to be carrying a piece of luggage or a handbag with the Goyard label, you’ve arrived. There’s no boasting required
Parisian luggage maker Goyard has a mysterious history that goes back two centuries, and the cachet to match. The brand’s 19th Century trunks are as sought-after, if not more so, than other luxe products such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. But this brand has no need to advertise its wares. Those in the know don’t have to make a noise about vintage trunks that cost almost $60,000 each, and totes available in every possible color, all boasting the brand’s signature iconic design.
Things are about to change, though, as Goyard, which up until now has had no reason to advertise in upmarket magazines, could eventually succumb to being part of a larger conglomerate similar to rival LVMH (Moet Hennesy Louis Vuitton). But for the moment, Goyard remains exclusive, aristocratic and still relatively unknown.
Long known for its superior, quality luggage pieces, Goyard counted Maharajas, Royalty, billionaires and celebrities as fans. It’s also famous for its complete disregard for marketing and mass-production. A visit to the flagship store on Paris’ rue Saint-Honore, across the road from Louis Vuitton and other iconic brands, is a journey back in time, showcasing custom-made, hand-crafted vintage trunks in the past two centuries.
Not everything in the store costs a fortune. Those who have been let into this best-kept secret can pick up a selection of beautiful pieces, including tote bags, suitcases and overnight bags ranging in price from $1753 to $6,743. There are also beach bags, wallets, belts, dog collars, umbrellas, pens and other items to complete if you’re in the market.
One of the reasons to keep Goyard secret is the size of its store – if too many customers arrive at once, they have to wait outside, as it can only accommodate a limited number of people at a time. Assistants in white gloves are on hand to assist those lucky enough to get inside and purchase these masterpieces, each boasting hand-painted initials, seals and images.
Goyard was initially created in 1792 by Parisian Pierre-Francois Martin, who was known for his exquisitely crafted boxes and cases created to transport fragile items. As he had no children, the company was passed onto one of the workers, Louis-Henri Morel, who hired Francois Goyard, then 17, in 1845, who took over the company when Morel died. The business stayed in the Goyard family, who created the company’s signature soft, waterproof fabric, a mixture of linen and cotton. It was then bought by the Signoles family, who have run it since then.
These days, Goyard is better-known than in times past, and now boasts stores all over the world, including Brazil, Mexico, Spain, London, Italy, the US, including Miami, Madison Avenue, New York and California and all over the East, including Singapore, Japan and China.
A fan of the brand is Chanel’s very own Karl Lagerfeld – and that should come as no surprise, considering that Coco Chanel was also a customer. Each bag is in limited supply and can be customized by apprenticed artists trained in France, and is both technically and aesthetically remarkable.