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Industry  luxury goods retail
Founded  1853, Paris, France
Headquarters  Paris, France
Goyard httpssmediacacheak0pinimgcomoriginals9b
Key people  François Goyard (1828–1890), Edmond Goyard (1860–1937), Robert Goyard (1893–1979), François Goyard (1918–2005), Isabelle Goyard, Jean-Michel Signoles
Products  trunks, fine leather goods, pet accessories
CEO  Jean-Michel Signoles (1998–)

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Goyard is a French trunk and leather goods maker. Established in 1853 in Paris, and previously doing business as Martin (Pierre-François Martin founded the House of Martin in 1792) and then Morel, it is the oldest such organization still in business, older than Louis Vuitton by one year. François Goyard (1828–1890) made box making, packing and trunk making the family’s trade when he purchased Maison Morel, successor to Maison Martin. Edmond Goyard (1860–1937) expanded his business from 1885 to 1937. Robert Goyard (1893–1979) was the face of the brand during the booming post-war years. François Goyard played a significant role in further increasing the firm’s growth with his daughter Isabelle Goyard (1959-). Jean-Michel Signoles bought Goyard in 1998, and turned the privately-owned company into an internationally renowned brand.


The brand is known for a certain amount of secrecy, eschewing self-promotion, advertising, or e-commerce, and refusing to grant interviews.

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Trunk maker since 1792

Maison Morel was the official purveyor of Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Sicile, duchess de Berry, an honour that granted it the title of "box maker, trunk maker and packer of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Berry". Maison Martin’s store sign featured references to the three traditional crafts of "box making, trunk making and packing" that were at the core of its business, which was advertised as follows: "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 the guardian of a young female ward, Pauline Moutat, and gave his business as her dowry. He was also instrumental in arranging her marriage to one of his employees, Louis-Henri Morel (1817–1852), who was twenty-three at the time. Morel followed on Martin’s footsteps, and introduced himself as the "Successor to former Maison Morel, located on rue Neuve-des-Capucines, near Place Vendôme." In turn, Louis-Henri Morel, passed on his skills and knowledge to a seventeen-year-old apprentice by the name of François Goyard, whom he hired in 1845. The apprentice received a state-of-the-art training under the dual guidance of Pierre François Martin and Louis-Henri Morel. Monsieur Morel died suddenly on 24 August 1852. In a short time, the house’s corporate name changed from Morel to Goyard, and from Goyard to Goyard Ainé (French for "elder", François being the firstborn among Goyard brothers), as to differentiate himself from his siblings. When he died, François Goyard left his son Edmond with a very reputable business with workshops in Bezons, · a city in the northwestern suburbs of Paris.

In 1834, Pierre François Martin moved his store from 4, Rue Neuve des Capucines, where Louis Vuitton opened in 1854, to 347, rue Saint-Honoré. On account of the new street numbering policy implemented in Paris in 1856, the address changed to 233, rue Saint-Honoré. His successors remain stuck in this spot at the corner of rue Saint-Honoré and rue de Castiglione, near Place Vendôme.

Goyard: The Next Generation

Edmond Goyard, drawing on his father François Goyard’s work, turned the store on rue Saint-Honoré into an increasingly elitist luxury brand with an international clientele. He created the first Goyard advertisements, participated in various World Expositions and opened four branch stores. He also laid the foundations for the brand as we know it today, as he came up with the emblematic Goyardine canvas, launched a pet accessories range and developed products for automobiles. He partnered with his eldest son Robert, and together they ran E. Goyard Aîné et Fils (E.Goyard Elder and Son). Robert followed his father’s footsteps and ran the business from 1937 to 1979.

From Clamecy to Paris

The Goyards originated from Clamecy in Burgundy, where the family males had long worked as log drivers. They were members of the Compagnons de Rivière, a guild of transporters moving firewood to Paris. · The family name "Goyard" derives from the French "goujard", also spelled "goyard". This sickle-like tool with a blade attached to a two-metre-long strong wooden handle was used by the Bourguignon people from the Aube area to cut thorns they would then transplant onto hedgerow stakes.

Edmé Goyard (1801–1879) moves to Paris

In 1832, a massive cholera epidemic decimated the population of Clamecy. On 17 December, Edmé Goyard’s father died at the age of 72. His son subsequently left the hamlet with his wife and two sons, François and Claude, who were respectively four and two-years old. The family settled down in Paris and soon welcomed another son, Martin, who was born on 10 October 1833.

François Goyard (1828–1890) and his son Edmond Goyard (1860–1937)

After a thirty-two-year-tenure as head of business, François handed the company over to his 25-year-old eldest son Edmond on April "1st", 1885. The house changed its name to E. Goyard Aîné, and became a key player in the development of the industry of luxury travel items over the next few decades.

Robert Goyard (1893–1979)

Just like his father did, Robert ran the store until his demise in 1979. His impact on the house proved considerable, as he constantly updated the range of products, notably by developing a new canvas. He patented the design for this woven canvas in 1965. The Chevron pattern remained, and the overall design was simplified, as the production process required, leaving the canvas bare of any name.

Robert Goyard was also determined to contribute to the prestige of his neighbourhood. On 9 December 1936, the Place Vendôme Association was set up; on 25 July 1944, an extraordinary general meeting aiming to reform the association was held. The association initially changed its name to "Place Vendôme, Rue de la Paix and surroundings" before opting for "Comité Vendôme", its current name. Robert Goyard was instrumental in setting up this cooperative agreement by taking care of the formalities for its constitution and locating its offices at Goyard’s headquarters at 233, rue Saint-Honoré.

François Goyard (1918–2005)

Jean Edmond François was the son of Robert Goyard, and collaborated with his father. The Occupation took its toll on the house, and the store at 233, rue Saint-Honoré closed down temporarily. François took a stake in the family business on 25 May 1951, which became a limited company four days later. After the end of World War II, Robert resumed running the company until 1979; upon his death, his granddaughter Isabelle Goyard took over with the help of her father.

Take-over by Jean-Michel Signoles: a family business

In 1998, a purchaser took over from the Goyard family: Jean-Michel Signoles, a keen collector of all things Goyard, undertook the challenge of reinventing Goyard with the help of his sons. Without the backing of a leading luxury brand group, he exploited the heritage of the house, built new workshops in Carcassonne, France, and opened retail stores all over the world.

Participations of Goyard in various World Expositions

François Goyard, like Louis Vuitton, did not participate in the 1885 World Exposition, the first one to take place in Paris, as they both had started their respective business too recently. Under the guidance of Edmond Goyard, Goyard moved ahead in a new strategic direction and participated in a world exposition for the first time in 1900.

World Exposition of Paris in 1900

At the World Exposition of Paris that was held from 14 April to 12 November, Goyard won a bronze medal: "Mr Goyard Ainé from Paris displays in his stand a whole range of trunks, briefcases, suitcases, cases and so on. We also took notice of coat racks, toiletry sets coming with or without accessories, wicker baskets covered in waterproof canvas available in a variety of shades; everything denotes a quintessentially Parisian and tasteful craftsmanship."

World Exposition of Milan in 1906

Edmond Goyard participated in the World Exposition of Milan that was held from 28 April – 11 November 1906. The main examiner, Victor le Renard, concluded: "French items are once again preferred when it comes to craftsmanship and taste." Edmond Goyard won a gold medal.

Franco-British Exposition of London in 1908

The Franco-British Exposition was held in London from May to November 1908. Victor le Renard, the main examiner, noted that British manufacturers had failed to enter the contest, and deplored it. French manufacturers were hardly more enthusiastic when it came to respond to the persistent solicitations of the selection committee, as only two of them took part in the exposition: Goyard and Louis Vuitton. Edmond Goyard won a gold medal.

World Exposition of Brussels in 1910

The World Exposition in Brussels was held from 23 April – 7 November 1910, and featured the same three major Parisian houses as in Milan: Goyard, Louis Vuitton and Artus. Goyard was awarded an honorary degree during the Exposition, which turned out to be the most visited since 1900.

Exposition of Roubaix in 1911

Étienne Béraud, the exposition’s examiner, spoke highly of Goyard: "Goyard Aîné is one-hundred-and nineteen-years-old. It was established in 1792 in Paris". "

Anglo-Latin Exposition of London in 1912

At the Anglo-Latin Exposition of London that took place in Great White City, Goyard was featured in the section V of the competition ("Section of various industries"), within the "bodywork, automobiles and wooden accessories, tourism" division. This class was presided by François Léon Auscher, one of the most prestigious coachbuilders to call upon Goyard to make car trunks. Goyard’s commercial catalogue was testament to the heavy influence of mail coaches on the design of car trunks. Goyard won a grand prix. Examiner Henri Pichot added: "Goyard specializes in trunks and travel goods. It operates two branch stores, one in Monte-Carlo, the other in Biarritz."

Exposition of Ghent in 1913

It was held from 26 April – 3 November 1913. Goyard was awarded a Grand Prix, and the exposition’s reviewer, Mister Lamy-Torrilhon, stated how important Goyard was: "It employs a large number of workers and shop clerks, whether in Paris or at its branch stores in Monte-Carlo and Biarritz. Its goods are remarkable for their elegance and level of craftsmanship, two qualities that combine to produce, for instance, state-of-the-art drawer trunks equipped with double door and props to keep drawers ajar, cases for gloves, handkerchiefs, linen and so on". The Class 99 International Jury gave Goyard a citation for its excellence, as it had previously been awarded a grand prix. Mr Goyard was made an Academic Officer (an Order of Chivalry of France for academics and cultural and educational figures) right after the World Exposition of Brussels in 1910.

Panama Pacific Exposition of San Francisco in 1915

As World War I made it impossible for events to be held in Europe, Edmond Goyard decided to participate in a US-based exposition for the very first time. He travelled to San Francisco and was the brand ambassador during the event. The Panama Pacific Exposition proved to be a major success with 30,000 exhibitors and 18.9 million visitors between 20 February – 4 December 1915. Goyard performed on a non-competitive basis in the Class XXXV category ("Goods from Paris, Travel Items, Music Instruments"). Unfortunately, the detailed list of exhibitors is not featured in the competition final report.

Exposition of Strasbourg in 1919

As a result of post-war difficulties, the Strasbourg Exposition was a small-scale event. It was mostly designed to celebrate the return of Alsace and Lorraine to France. Three exhibitors entered the competition in the Travel items Class: Bourson, Goyard and Louis Vuitton. As Edmond Goyard was a substitute judge for the class, Goyard performed on a non-competitive basis. Class examiner Gaston Roux was a passionate advocate of French colours: “In this area, we can only claim superiority for one thing, but it is overwhelming: French luxury trunks are by far the best. They are tasteful, renowned and sought after the world over. As a result, French major brands opened successful branch stores in the US and the UK. Yet there are not that many of them, and that is the reason why only three exhibitors participated in the Exposition.”

International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts

This event was commissioned in 1912 to be held in 1915, but ended up being postponed for another ten years. Paul Léon, the examiner for the Class 9 of the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts, stressed that "manufacturers such as Israël, Silberstein, Amson and Goyard display a very elevated view of French leather goods. Israël and Silberstein excel at crafting highly creative women’s bags, Amson gives a new meaning to mass production with its use of fine materials and its sober and clever designs, whilst Goyard reigns supreme on sport and travel items."

Celebrity customers

Goyard’s letterhead paper dated 24 June 1891 bore the coats of arms of the United Kingdom and the Russian Empire and the Great Seal of the United States of America. The queens of Yugoslavia and Greece became customers after World War II, whilst the Duke and Duchess of Windsor purchased their first Goyard goods in 1939. High-profile purchasers such as the Grimaldis or the Maharajah of Kapurthala rub shoulders with celebrities, socialites or first ladies like Catherine Deneuve, Édith Piaf, Romy Schneider, Jean-Claude Brialy, who acquired his first Goyard pieces in 1974, Mrs Georges Pompidou, who became a client from 1963 onwards, princess Andrée Aga Khan (1956), princess Radziwill (1949) or the prince and princess von Fürstenberg (1968). Contemporary glitterati like Madonna, Victoria Beckham, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy are regularly spotted wearing Goyard bags. Rapper Kanye West mentioned his affinity for Goyard trunks in his 2007 song, The Glory.

Manufacturing of the Goyard canvas: the Goyardine

This coated cloth was already around for the World Exposition in 1900, and was used in the inter-war years. It remains unchanged up to the present time, in its chevron pattern. In 2002, exactly 110 years after its creation, the Signoles family inaugurated their tenure at the helm of Goyard with the introduction of twelve new colours on top of the historic black canvas. The Goyardine canvas is now available in red, green, sky-blue, navy-blue, yellow, white…

A natural fibre canvas

Right from the start, Goyardine was made with cloth, although its appearance is very similar to leather. Goyard uses three plant fibres: hemp, linen and cotton. Hemp is particularly sought after for its hydrophobic qualities, linen is a fine thermal regulator, and the softness of linen probably caught the attention of the trunk maker.

The manufacturing process

The initial meters of Goyardine were most likely hand-painted. When the Goyardine was launched, the workshops moved to Bezons, and the manufacturing of the canvas required a ground-colour application followed by three successive layers of etching colours. The trademark slightly raised pattern of the Goyardine results from both the cloth and the printing technique used during the manufacturing process: the plain weave shows through the Chevron pattern, and superimposes on top of the raised pattern produced by the paint dots. The overall effect is absolutely unique, and near impossible to counterfeit.

Symbolic meaning of the Goyard Chevron pattern

The dots on the fabric supposedly represent three chevrons juxtaposed to form a Y, the central letter in the Goyard family name. Edmond Goyard used the three chevrons of the letter Y to sign his canvas just like a painter would sign his painting: his name written in white is the only element that truly stands out, whilst the address of the Paris store is spelled in two different shades of brown, and "Paris" is repeated twice, and arranged in a centrally symmetrical stack. Edmond Goyard was the very first trunk maker to build his name into his canvas, and did so even before the year 1900. The piled up dot pattern was clearly inspired by the Goyard family history, and evokes their "Compagnon de rivière"(log drivers) ancestors.

Goyard woven canvases

If Edmond Goyard left his mark on the history of the brand by creating the Goyardine, his son Robert also created a new fabric: a four-shade-woven canvas. This canvas is used in bags designed for frequent air travel. Robert Goyard patented his new canvas on 24 November 1965, and described its design as "Chevrons intertwined with linear stripes." This new canvas not only allows for a more modern look: for it is a woven canvas, it is also much softer than the historic Goyard canvas, thus making it possible to manufacture new products. In order to improve the solidity of the weaving, Robert Goyard altered the pattern in 1968, and came up with a totally updated version that is easily recognizable from the previous one, as it is much more even.

New Goyard woven canvases

In 2010, Goyard marketed for the very first time a canvas woven on a jacquard loom. This jacquard canvas constitutes a major technical feat, as it builds "E.Goyard" into the lighter-shaded thread of the canvas, a previously unheard-of achievement in the textile industry. The new canvas is currently available in a black-charcoal grey-dove grey-white colour palette, and will shortly be available in other shades.

The Lenglen canvas

This extremely rare canvas was developed in collaboration with Suzanne Lenglen in the 1930s; its production stopped when the tennis player died in 1938. Goyard reprinted this canvas, which is now available again for special orders only, as quantities produced are limited.

Special orders

Nowadays, special orders are to be placed at the store at 233, rue Saint-Honoré, as it was the case when the factory was located in Bezons. Special orders are entirely hand-made in the Goyard workshops in southern France, in the Aude department. The workshops are installed in converted wine warehouses. Whilst some trunk makers specialize in standardized goods, Goyard is equally at ease with both special orders and ready-made items. Among the many extravagant special orders that Goyard was able to deliver over the course of its history, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s "Writer’s trunk" certainly stands out. In the report he wrote for the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in 1925, Paul Léon lists its main characteristics: "The trunk is equipped with a filing cabinet, a bookcase, a typewriter and a foldable desk." The descriptive text that goes with its patent spares no detail either: "All kinds of kits and sets can be placed in the pigeonhole located in the trunk lid, along with photograph frames, a watch, a thermometer and a barometer". After the death of the creator of Sherlock Holmes on 7 July 1930, Edmond Goyard registered a patent for the trunk on 20 July 1931, and seldom remanufactured this exceptional piece.

Each order is the result of a special encounter: that taking place between the trunk maker and the customer. When it comes to special orders, everything is possible: a trunk especially designed to carry and store caviar, or to meet the needs of a sportsperson, a fabulous picnic trunk.

Each piece of hard-sided luggage by Goyard is entirely hand made by a specific trunk maker, according to the highest, strictest standards. When the crafting process is over, the trunk maker writes down the serial number of the piece they made on its identification tag, along with their initials. They also write down that same serial number in the manufacturing register that has been keeping track of all items made by the Goyard workshops ever since Jean-Michel Signoles took over. The manufacturing register is used as a reference in the event an item needs to be repaired. About twenty trunk makers work in the Goyard workshops and specialize in made-to-order trunks and hard-sided luggage.

Luggage monogramming and crowns

When several members of a same family travel together, their luggage stripes are identical, and it is difficult to tell which piece of luggage belongs to whom. In France, tradition dictates that each piece should be monogrammed with the initials of its owner, whereas in the UK, it is customary to use the owner’s full first and last names, whether they are a royal or a commoner. Initials have been used for a long time, as evidenced by the wooden trunk the compagnons de rivière used to carry along with them on their timber raft. It was the only valuable object on board, and it was used to protect food and personal belongings from the waters of the river. Over the course of time, it became a token of remembrance, reminding its owner of the many travels he made. It was monogrammed with its owner’s initials and also stamped with the employers’ logo. François Goyard’s grandfather was a compagnon de rivière, and he owned a monogrammed trunk long before the family went into the trunk making business. Luggage monogramming became necessary to differentiate luggage, which tend to be very similar-looking, not to mention that there are often too many of them. Stripes perpetuate old traditions, notably those related to horse carriages, which were painted in the colours of each family.

Goyard’s monograms are hand-painted onto the Goyardine canvas. The revival of customized leather goods, whether they are adorned with initials, stripes or coats of arms, proved Goyard’s answer to the logo craze.

Goyard boutiques

Apart from the main boutique in Paris, Goyard also has freestanding monobrand stores in: New York City (20 East 63rd Street at Madison Avenue), London (116 Mount Street), San Francisco (345 Powell Street), Biarritz (4, Avenue de l’Impératrice) and Mexico City (420 Avenida Presidente Masaryk).

Its retail spaces in luxury department stores include:

  • Tokyo at Isetan Shinjuku, Takashimaya in Nihombashi and Hankyu Men’s Tokyo; Takashimaya in Kyoto, and Osaka at Umeda Hankyu
  • Seoul at Galleria Department Store
  • New York City at Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman; in Boston, Chicago and Beverly Hills at Neiman Marcus
  • Shanghai at Yifeng Galleria, and China World Mall in Beijing
  • Hong Kong at Peninsula Hotel and Pacific Place
  • Taipei at Regent Taipei Hotel
  • São Paulo at JK Iguatemi Shopping Mall
  • Singapore at Takashimaya
  • In 2008, Goyard opened a boutique called "Le Chic du Chien" (Canine Chic) 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. Edmond Goyard was very keen on developing a range of pet accessories, as evidenced by catalogues and invoices dating from as far back as 1890. The Goyard range for pets comprised items for dogs, cats and even monkeys. Edmond Goyard hired the most sought-after illustrators of his time, such as the likes of Benjamin Rabier and Pierre Falize, the latter being also the creator of famous posters for iconic Parisian Restaurant Prunier, to work on the Chic du Chien commercial catalogues.

    Sidaction and Avec

    Ever since it started in 1994, Goyard has been a supporter of Sidaction, a major French public event for raising awareness and collecting charitable funds for AIDS. Goyard donates prestigious prizes for the annual Fashion Dinner’s raffle, in order to fund initiatives against AIDS, whether research programs, patient assistance or prevention schemes. Goyard is also a supporter of the annual AVEC (Association pour la Vie, Espoir contre le Cancer, a not-for-profit organisation fighting cancer) evening. At the end of the charity dinner organized at the Palace of Versailles in January 2012, "the auction was equally fun and lucrative: the Goyard prize (a hard-sided suitcase worth 4700 euros) was auctioned three times and finally repurchased by the very man who had donated it in the first place, Jean-Michel Signoles, president of Goyard, who ended up offering it to French TV show host Stéphane Bern."

    Un bagage pour la vie, un bagage pour Curie

    For the third edition of Un bagage pour la vie, un bagage pour Curie, Goyard organized an auction of customized bags and luggage to raise money for the leading cancer research centre Institut Curie in Paris. The patron of the event was Amélie Mauresmo, and the pieces auctioned off were sponsored by twenty-one female personalities from the worlds of cinema, fashion and sport: Sarah Biasini, Élodie Bouchez, Cécile Cassel, Audrey Dana, Emma de Caunes, Catherine Deneuve, Zoé Felix, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vahina Giocante, Judith Godrèche, Audrey Marnay, Chiara Mastroianni, Amélie Mauresmo, Mathilda May, Héléna Noguerra, Géraldine Pailhas, Vanessa Paradis, Linh-Dan Pham, Barbara Schultz, Audrey Tautou and Elsa Zylberstein. Each personality was invited by Goyard to use the iconic chevron pattern canvas to express their own vision of travelling: stripes of colour, messages or drawings. Their imagination combined to Goyard’s know-how resulted in twenty-one unique pieces auctioned at Christie's in Paris. ·

    The Goyard art book

    The Goyard art book published by Devambez is the reference publication upon Parisian trunk makers. It was dubbed "a luxury bible" by Suzy Menkes in the article called "A tender Tome of Art and Heart" that she wrote in the New York Times on 15 June 2010. The book had a print run of 233 copies, a reference to the address of the Goyard historic store that has been located at 233, rue Saint Honoré since 1834. It will never be republished and is visible by appointment only. The Goyard art book pays tribute to the golden days of luxury travelling, from horse carriage to ocean liners. It retraces the history of Goyard and is showcased in a special made-to-order trunk that is altogether a jewel case and a book’s binding (sewing). Each individual purchaser is invited to make their named copy into a unique piece by picking the colour for the trunk canvas, which can also be initialled or adorned with stripes in the shades of their choice. Copies are numbered from 1 to 233, and that number is specified both on the trunk and in the book. · The Goyard art book is printed on watermarked deckled vellum paper that was custom-made by Arches, France’s most renowned papermakers. Lead letterpress techniques have been used for the texts. The Goyard art book is featured in the collections of the National Library of France, the Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and the Kunstbibliothek in Berlin.


    Goyard Wikipedia

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