The illustrious french malletier Moynat is revived in Paris with the opening of a new boutique, at 348 rue Saint-Honoré.
Founded in 1849, the prestigious brand is opening a very modern boutique of 200 square metres, with flaming colours and modern art decoration. The Maison Moynat is offering a set of handbags and trunks that competes with the notorious luxury malletiers Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Goyard.
Recently incorporated into the LVMH Group, the Maison Moynat is managed by Guillaume Davin (ex Vice-President of Louis Vuitton Japan) and the Indian fashion designer, Ramesh Nair, who started his career at Hermès, Christian Lacroix and Yohji Yamamoto.
With an outstanding heritage, the brand was undervalued by the public but demanded by collectors. It used to be known for its innovative spirit, pioneering the use of wicker and gutta-percha, an insulating material, malleable and waterproof, produced by a tropical tree from Singapore. The customers were also charmed by the lightness of the trunks. Edmond Cotteau, a French great traveler, purchased a wooden steamer trunk, lined with cloth lining and covered with iron.
The Maison Moynat took part in various World Fairs. The brand received its most prestigious awards at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in 1925, with the red morocco leather trunk as a showpiece. Designed by Henri Rapin, it gathered the “savoir-faire” of leather goods, the marquetry, the paneling and jewelry of the early twenties.
The history of the House started with a woman, Pauline Moynat, who sensed the changes in the city and measured the impulse of the Baron Haussmann. After meeting with the Coulembier Brothers, two malletiers and wrappers, she started to understand the desires of the new travelers that were seeking fun at seaside resorts. Pauline Moynat partnered with the Coulembier Brothers and opened their first Maison de vente in 1869, at 5 place du Théatre Français, in front of the Comédie Française. Ten years later, the House settled at 1st avenue de l’Opéra.
As a brand of reference for luggage and travel items, the Maison Moynat pioneered in the market by selling handbags in the same boutique. In 1907, the managers undertook the construction of a 1 500 square metres building, with 4 levels and 250 workmen and craftsmen. Three generations of Coulembier have followed one another, but the business started to decline after the Second World War. The Maison Moynat finally closed in 1976.
A large number of patents
The trunk-maker applied for numerous patents on security devices, hiding places and pockets concealed in false bottoms or under the walls. Then, the brand made the most of the automobile expansion to become the reference for suitable luggage, including a wide range of custom made items; such as: extra-light and thin trunks which can be piled up on top of each other, closet-trunks with openings at the front, trunks in camphor wood designed for fur transportation in order to protect it against moths. But also limousnes trunks which are specially designed to better fit the bodywork or the step. And lastly picnic trunks.
After cars, Moynat took an interest in sea liners by creating a “closet-trunk” with coat stand holder, with a silk or velvet lining.
The colours were also “custom made” and each automobile trunk was lacquered in matching the tone of the body. Amongst those colours, amber has become with time one of the companys’s codes.
Simplicity, distinction, refinement in the materials as well as finish inherited from this craftmanship are now in the store.
If you wish to offer a handbag, a leather tote bag costs 1 500 euros, and it is about 800 euros for a tote bag made of cloth. You will have to spend 4100 euros for a “24/7 travel” bag. Regarding the trunks, they will be made on orders by a small French factory. A very limited book has been published on this luxury house for those who are interested in French cultural heritage.
Sandrine Parot Deméré et Nathalia Bienvenu-Kapferer, Mars 2012
Translation : Laura Axel
Credit Photos : Moynat