bal harbour blog

When a Whisper is Louder than a Roar

Fashion News
Goyard plants its flag at Bal Harbour Shops.

By Jessica Michault

The fashion industry is running at breakneck speed. It’s a keeping up with the Joneses business-wide malaise that leaves very little room for any alternative avenues for brands. Except, that is, for Goyard.

Goyard is the anti-fashion fashion brand. It has long ago gone off the grid. From the beginning, way back in 1853, the French luxury house cultivated an under-the-radar mystique. Letting its pristine reputation for creating high-quality travel trunks and accessories in the noblest materials, crafted using techniques handed down through generations, to speak for it instead. Even today, the house rarely communicates about its privately owned business.

Goyard actually has a policy of not giving interview requests to press, nor does it have an e-commerce division. Instead, the brand prefers to envelop its clientele in the world of Goyard via its six stand-alone boutiques (including its three maisons in New York, Paris and London), as well as through a handful of in-store boutiques at Neiman Marcus, Barney’s New York and Bergdorf Goodman, among other carefully vetted locations. The Goyard galaxy expands this November when its seventh boutique debuts at Bal Harbour.

This steadfast conviction of exclusivity and discretion has not only kept the brand’s legacy safe, it has built up an almost insatiable desire in consumers to posses a piece of Goyard. So understated and evergreen are its designs, that owning one of the brand’s handbags, travel trunks or pet carrying cases is like the luxury accessories version of a secret handshake.

The brand’s insider luxury seal has been in place since the 19th century, when the family owned company first came to prominence thanks to its impressive custom-made trunks, its exceptional attention to detail and its remarkable customer service. The Who’s Who of the past 162 years that have passed under the black and gold awnings of Maison Goyard on rue Saint-Honoré in Paris include Pablo Picasso, the Rockefellers, Coco Chanel, Estée Lauder, Edith Piaf, Karl Lagerfeld, Madonna and more recently Kanye West, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Moss and Princess Madeleine of Sweden.

Once someone becomes a client of Goyard, the house is committed to retaining them. Lagerfeld opened his account back in 1972 and remains a satisfied customer. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor opened their account in 1939, only to close it out when the Duchess passed away in 1986.

In fact, it was the ardent love of one collector of Goyard trunks that set off the brand’s current renaissance. For years Jean-Michel Signoles, who had made his first fortune by owning and creating the children’s fashion brand Chipie, had been amassing signature Goyard trunks by the hundreds—he discovered his first Goyard in 1974. When he sold Chipie he decided to turn his collecting into a new career and purchased Goyard in 1998.

The brand could not have dreamt of a better guardian for the house’s codes and commitment to heritage. Today, Goyard still remains a family owned business. Signoles brought his sons Alex and Rémi on board to handle different aspects of the day-to-day running of the company and he set up state-of-the-art ateliers that cater to the artisanal needs of the company’s craftsmen in his hometown of Carcassonne, France. Under Signoles’ watchful eye, Goyard began to produce the house’s famed Goyardine pattern canvas again (which it had stopped after WWII.) He also introduced new color variations to the classic black shaded motif. In addition, Signoles has begun a tactical expansion effort. And there has also been a calculated growth of product lines that adapt to modern-day needs, including trolley (wheeled) luggage, weekend bags and the new Anjou tote bag, which debuted in July in Paris.

The Anjou is the perfect example of Goyard’s listening to the needs of its customer base. It is the kissing cousin of the brand’s popular Saint Louis tote bag, but the Anjou is reversible. On one side, it features the house’s iconic chevron pattern, and on the other, a supple grained leather. The bag also comes with a handy pouch and luggage tag (the perfect spot for one’s initials).

The stealth wealthy beauty of Goyard doesn’t scream luxury, it whispers it. Forcing you to lean in and get close. Goyard’s artisans like dreamers with unique demands, live for the challenge of a made-to-order design and for surpassing even the highest of expectations.

all images courtesy of Goyard.


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