Goyard: Brief History and 6 Little-Known Facts
In the world of luxury fashion, few brands can boast a history as storied and distinguished as Goyard. They maintain a very limited number of stores worldwide. Goyard bag prices are under wraps. You'll hardly see any of the Goyard ads, ever. And yet their handbags appeal to a wide audience and sell for thousands of dollars, not to mention they were sported on Pablo Picasso, Romanovs, Coco Chanel, Kanye West (the latter even mantioned Goyard in his 2007 song The Glory).
What's their secret?
Founded over 160 years ago in Paris, Goyard has journeyed through remarkable moments that have shaped its identity. Join us as we delve into the history of Goyard, the most secret designer bag brand in the world, exploring its fascinating evolution and the milestones that have made it an iconic name in the world of luxury fashion.
Goyard Brief History: Facts That Will Impress Your Friends
1. Goyard was called Maison Martin & Maison Morel (1792-1853)
Did you know that the brand used to have another name?
The grand grandfather of the brand is Pierre-François Martin. He created Maison Martin in 1792, a box-maker, trunk-maker, and packing company. Only rich people could afford to travel at that time and there was plenty of aristocracy among his clientele.
Same as with Louis Vuitton, the company of that time was primarily a luggage maker. The facade of the shop read:
"Maison Martin sells an assortment of boxes and cases; it provides quality packing services for fragile furniture and objects, as well as hats, gowns and flowers; it uses oiled canvas, plain canvas and straw for packing; manufacturer of horse carriage trunks and coat racks, it also supplies oilcloth and waterproof canvas, all at a fair price."
Pierre-François Martin was a widower with no kinds. However, as a guardian of a young female ward, Pauline Moutat, he arranged her marriage to one of his employees, Louis-Henri Morel, and gave his business as her dowry.
Morel continued the business under new name, though he indicated that he's a successor of the Maison Martin.
In 1845, Morel hired François Goyard (1828-1890) as an apprentice. At that point, the founder-to-be was a talented 17-year old boy.
2. Goyard was Founded One Year Before Louis Vuitton, in 1853 (Founding Years 1853-1885)
Despite its rich history from 1792, officially Goyard is claiming to be founded in 1893. Here's how it happened.
When Louis-Henri Morel died suddenly in 1852, François Goyard took over. One year later, he changed the name of the business to Maison Goyard. For 32 years her remained at the helm of a house that he took to a whole new level.
The Goyard family stems from the town of Clamecy in Burgundy. Their male family members traditionally worked as log drivers.
Goyard's journey begins in 1853 when François Goyard, a master trunk-maker, established his eponymous business in Paris. Known for his exceptional craftsmanship, attention to detail, and innovative designs, François quickly gained recognition among the French elite. In 1853, he opened his first boutique on Rue Saint-Honoré, attracting aristocrats, socialites, and globetrotters seeking bespoke trunks and luggage.
3. The Arrival of Edmond Goyard and the signature Goyardine Canvas (1885-1937)
In 1885, François handed over the reins of the business to his son, Edmond Goyard. The name of the brand had yet to undergone one more change, to E. Goyard Aîné (the elder).
In 1892, Edmond Goyard drew inspiration from his family's history when he introduced the Goyardine canvas. Today it seems just another waterproof material, but at that time the introduction of such invention was a game changer. With its combination of durability, flexibility, and water resistance, the Goyardine canvas marked a significant technical revolution in the industry.
This iconic canvas featured a dotted pattern reminiscent of the log drives guided by Edmond's predecessors. The Y is the central letter in the Goyard family name. Additionally, the name "Goyardine" was derived from Poutangris, a natural coated cloth used by the Compagnons de Rivières to create durable and waterproof working garments called Biaudes.
This innovative Goyardine canvas proved to be a game-changer for Goyard, setting them apart from other trunk-makers who were still utilizing plain linen cloth. Its composition remains the house's secret even today.
This distinctive Goyardine canvas not only increased the durability of their items but also became a hallmark of Goyard's timeless and understated luxury.
4. Goyard Has An Exclusive Pet Fashion Line
During his tenure, Edmond Goyard made numerous significant contributions to the brand. He spearheaded the creation of the first Goyard advertisements and actively participated in various World Expositions, showcasing the brand's exceptional craftsmanship and exquisite designs.
To expand their reach, Edmond opened three branch stores in Monte-Carlo, Biarritz, and Bordeaux, along with trade offices in New York and London.
Notably, the London office was situated on Mount Street, the same street where the current Goyard Mayfair boutique stands today. Additionally, Edmond collaborated with the esteemed coachbuilder Rheims & Auscher to develop a range of automotive products, further diversifying Goyard's offerings. In addition, he released a new line of dog collars called "chic du chien," which became crazy popular at that time. To honor that collection, in 2008 Goyard went as far as to open another store in Paris just for dog fashion.
4. Goyard is Owned by a Carcassonne Businessman
Under the leadership of Jean-Michel Signoles, who acquired Goyard in 1995, the brand experienced a resurgence.
This man started as a Goyard collector in 1974, but later he decided to acquire his favorite brand.
Signoles recognized the historical significance and unique craftsmanship of Goyard and aimed to preserve its legacy while expanding its global reach. Slowly but steadily, Goyard boutiques began to pop up in major international cities, including Tokyo, New York, London, and Los Angeles. This expansion allowed Goyard to cater to a broader clientele and reinforced the brand's reputation as a paragon of exclusivity.
5. Goyard Was Karl Lagerfeld's Favorite Luggage Brand
Goyard's enduring appeal extends beyond its luxurious products. The brand has collaborated with renowned fashion houses and designers, forging unique partnerships that blend heritage and contemporary aesthetics. Notably, Goyard collaborated with designer Virgil Abloh's Off-White in 2020, resulting in a highly sought-after collection that melded Goyard's classic craftsmanship with Abloh's streetwear sensibility.
Goyard has also had a long history of celebrity patronage, with illustrious names such as Coco Chanel, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Karl Lagerfeld embracing the brand's timeless allure. Almost any A-lister from Hilary Duff to Victoria Beckham was spotted with their Goyard Saint Louis Tote.
Karl Lagerfeld used Goyard luggage bags almost exclusively, and he sure knew a thing or two about fashion.
6. Goyard Today: A Legacy Continues
Today, Goyard remains steadfastly committed to preserving its rich heritage and commitment to expert craftsmanship. Each Goyard creation is painstakingly handcrafted in the brand's workshops in France, where the artisans employ traditional techniques passed down through generations. The unmistakable hand-painted chevron pattern, the meticulous stitching, and the discreet branding all contribute to Goyard's reputation as a symbol of unmatched luxury and elegance.
Who Owns Goyard Now?
Goyard managed to score another achievement. Aside from its rich history of over 170 years, it managed to stay away from resounding fashion houses's sales and acquisitions. Goyard is now owned by Jean-Michel Signoles since 1995.
From its inception in the mid-19th century to its present-day status as one of the most exclusive luxury brands, Goyard has carved a niche for itself in the world of fashion. Its unwavering dedication to traditional craftsmanship, its fine attention to detail, and its ability to seamlessly blend timeless elegance with contemporary collaborations have made Goyard a symbol of enduring luxury. As we look to the future, we eagerly anticipate the next chapter in Goyard's illustrious history, knowing that it will continue to captivate and inspire fashion enthusiasts for generations to come.
All in all, Goyard embodies a very high-end Parisian chic, even superior to the LV monogram, of Louis Vuitton, which attracts all the Japanese of the planet to the Champs-Elysées.