Few brands have stood the test of time as resolvedly as the French House of Goyard, a family-owned maker of luxury handbags, totes and accessories in chic and timeless styles and a vibrant array of colors. The internationally renowned bags were born out of the maison’s original business of making leather goods and other luxury travel wares — once the favorite of the French aristocracy, Goyard trunks are highly sought-after antiques today.
Originally known as House of Martin, the brand was founded in Paris in 1792 by trunk maker Pierre-François Martin. It quickly grew in distinction, and, in 1841, Martin hired and passed on the business to his employee, Louis-Henri Morel. In 1845, Morel himself hired a 17-year-old apprentice named François Goyard, who eventually took over and renamed the company Maison Goyard (House of Goyard).
François' son, Edmond Goyard, ushered the business into a new era when he became the head of the company in 1885. He focused increasingly on elite and international clientele to grow the brand's prestige. Edmond also created a "pet chic" line of Goyard dog collars and other accessories. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the younger Goyard was the Goyard signature canvas, as seen on the iconic luxury St. Louis tote. Durable, lightweight and waterproof, it features a distinctive "Y" pattern created from three chevrons or different shades. This revolutionary canvas laid the foundation for the modern brand.
A daring innovator, Edmond Goyard took the brand to the World Exposition of Paris in 1900 and won a bronze medal. Gold medals at the World Exposition of Milan and the Franco-British Exposition of London followed. Goyard continued showing at World Expos, bringing the house even more international acclaim and the attention of esteemed clientele like Pablo Picasso, John D. Rockefeller and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
In 1998, the fashion house was purchased by passionate Goyard bag and trunk collector Jean-Michel Signoles. He re-established the brand as a purveyor of luxury bags that continue to garner recognition.