Brand History: Goyard the World Traveller Featured

A recognisable motif, an exemplary craftmanship and a hundred-year-old luggage maker called Goyard
by 20 April 2010

The Goyard brand doesn’t rely on a celebrity face to help sell its products; neither does it need to advertise itself in newspapers and magazines. Its name alone has been enough to attract attention for over a century. With its discreet and very selective boutiques, Goyard, which was born in 1853 and has been based at 233 rue Saint Honoré ever since, has over time become one of the most famous luxury leather goods brands not only in France but also worldwide. Its stylish chevron motif is easily recognizable. We take a look at the defining moments of this business which is synonymous with success.

A Family History

In 1853, Francois Goyard, having moved from Burgundy to Paris to improve his standard of living, bought shares in the famous Morel brand, a well-established and famous trunk maker, where he worked with his son, Edmond. Incredibly ambitious and fascinated by his craft, at the start of the twentieth century 25 year old Edmond took control of the company and imposed a trademark fabric woven out of linen, cotton and hemp and coated with a stylized motif pattern of the three interlaced chevrons. This "Y" motif evokes the universal link between the tree, the man and the letter ‘y’ in the family name. Edmond realised very quickly that in order to sustain this new luxury luggage collection, he must offer the very best, both in terms of quality and style. Every piece had to be carefully tailor-made according to the desires and needs of the customer. And the Goyard trunk was born. It represents the brand’s entry into the modern era and the international aristocracy quickly caught on, from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to John Rockefeller, from American presidents to Asian maharajahs.

Year after year, as the company passed from father to son, the Goyard entrepreneurs continued to shine in the elite world of luggage-makers, earning numerous awards and receiving constant applause. They succeeded in making Goyard a company that is unrivalled not only in its expertise, but also in its creative and innovative talents. In 1931, they obtained a patent for the design of a ‘Malle Bureau’: a portable box which when opened transforms into a writing tablet with drawers. The world fell in love with it and writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle went straight to order one for himself. The Goyard trunks and luggage never stop evolving and are engrained in the family’s heritage. The company was handed down from father to son until 1998 when the businessman Jean-Pierre Signoles bought the brand, which he now runs with his two sons. A new family history which upholds the skill and craftsmanship central to the brand, whilst ensuring its independence.

A luxury trunk-maker and supporter of tailormade pieces
Today the house is known primarily for its famous canvas made of a mixture of linen, hemp and cotton, which is manufactured in the brand’s own workshops. A canvas which over the years, thanks to developments in technology, has been made waterproof and fade resistant. This craftwork allows Goyard to emphasise the detailing, executed entirely by hand, which makes each piece so unique. The brand also creates custom-made pieces and special orders, of which there are numerous examples: a trunk designed to carry a polo player’s equipment, another designed to transport a bike, others created to hold perfumes, cigars and even caviar ... Each trunk is numbered and bears a reference label with the name of the worker handwritten inside. During its development into a respected maker of luxury leather goods, Goyard was one of the first brands to create a recognisable motif: its famous Y has become as familiar as Louis Vuitton’s ‘LV’... While the latter has worked hard to make sure that their monogram become known worldwide as a symbol of ostentatious luxury, Goyard has targeted an upscale clientele which prefers a more discreet chic.

Their tailor-made service is simply a natural progression from the customisation that Goyard has offered its clients from the very start. A client can request that his or her initials or other symbols be monogrammed on their luggage- and they will of course be painted on by hand.

Goyard
233 & 352 Rue Saint Honoré 75001 Paris
Tel. + 33 (0) 1 42 60 57 04
www.goyard.com

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