Of the many luxury houses that have seen a resurgence in the latter part of the 20th century, Goyard stands alone for exclusivity, prestige, and style. Goyard evolved from the House of Martin, which was established by trunk maker Pierre-Francois Martin in 1792. Former apprentice Francois Goyard took over the firm in 1852, opening workshops where he could control production of his items from start to finish, thus maintaining the quality and standard of his product.
The distinctive Goyardine canvas takes its inspiration from Francois’ family history; they worked as transporters that moved firewood by inland waterways. The unique canvas design with piled up dots in a chevron pattern clearly hints at logs driven by his ancestors from the forests of Morvan to Paris.
The coated cloth debuted for the World Exposition in 1900 and remains unchanged today, keeping its iconic chevron design. In 2002, the Goyardine canvas was given a new lease of life with the addition of twelve new colours. This revitalised the brand and introduced a new, younger clientele.
Historical clients of the firm include Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel, Marilyn Monroe, and the former Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The latter commissioned an array of trunks and travel goods, as well as Chic du Chien accessories for their poodles and then in later years for their pugs. High profile and active clients between 1939 and 1986, the Duke and Duchess gave the already prestigious house an extra cachet. So popular were the dog accessories that in 2008, Goyard opened a standalone ‘Le Chic du Chien’ boutique, entirely dedicated to pet accessories and excursion items at 352, rue Saint-Honoré right across the street from its historic store at 233, rue Saint-Honoré.
Although the house has seen great expansion and innovation in recent years, the boutiques remain quaint and true to their origins. Now owned by Jean-Michel Signoles who bought Goyard in 1998 and without the backing of a leading group, Goyard is a millennium success story. With its recent reinvention and complete disregard for over marketing or mass-production of its costly goods, Goyard remains a beacon of timeless elegance, craftsmanship, and exclusivity.
John D’AGATA / Head of Luxury
Banner: Goyard, rue Saint-Honoré, Paris / Alamy