The last time I checked, I was still obsessed with anything Goyard. I think my sweet husband has finally given in. Well, at least he has led me to believe that he has.
For those of you not intimately familiar with the Goyard brand, here is a little backgrounder for you.
François Goyard was born on September 8, 1828, in Clamecy, Burgundy. For the previous two centuries his family had been part of the Compagnon de Rivière, a guild of transporters of wood, by river, from the forests of Morvan up to Paris where it was used to heat homes in the city. The Goyards would float wood in rafts seventy five meters long and five meters wide, taking eleven days to navigate 220 kilometer distance up the Yonne and the Seine Rivers to their destination. The return journey would be made on foot.
In 1832, François’ father Edme Goyard (1801–1879) decided to move his family to Paris. In 1845, the 17 year-old François became apprenticed to the workshop of Henri Morel who, in 1836 had acquired Maison Martin, a packing-case and trunkmaker to the Duchesse of Berry, which was located 4 rue Neuve des Capucines. (Prior to this, in 1828, Maison Martin had purchased the workshop of Meffre—also a packer—founded in 1792, and located at 233 Rue Saint-Honoré.)
After Henri Morel’s death in 1852, François became the director of the company. In 1853, he married a young couturier named Leopoldine Delaporte. Their son Edmond was born in 1860, followed soon thereafter by another son, Maurice. At the age of 25, Edmond Goyard (1860–1937) took over from his father, who then turned to making jewelry. “Maison Goyard” was given the new name of “E. Goyard Aine”. The initial E not only acknowledged Edmond, it also paid homage to his grandfather, Edme Goyard, who had died six years earlier.
Edmond went on to open boutiques in various locations – including Bordeaux, Biarritz and Monte Carlo, in addition to the John Wanamaker stores in New York and Philadelphia. Around the end of the 19th century, the mark ‘Ne Ct’ (meaning Notable Commerant) was adorning all catalogues, receipts and labels.
Edmond Goyard participated in the Exposition Universelle et Internationale of Paris, in 1900, where Goyard luggage won a bronze medal. In 1906, in Milan, it received a gold medal, and at the French-British Exposition of 1908 in London, it also won a gold medal. Maison Goyard was given the Award of Honour at the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs
Goyard opened a specific department for “dogs, cats, monkeys”. Here, they provided harnesses, kennels, boots and even protective automobile glasses for pets.
In 1923, on his 30th birthday and the 70th anniversary of Maison Goyard, Edmond’s son, Robert Goyard (1893–1979) became Director, with Edmond remaining involved as Creative Director. (Captain Robert Goyard had been awarded the Legion of Honor, Croix de guerre with four citations and the Military Cross in the First World War.)
A patent for the “Malle Bureau” was later obtained by Maison Goyard in 1931. Comprising a portable trunk which included a writing table, it could also accommodate a typewriter. Arthur Conan Doyle was one customer who ordered this trunk.
In 1936, Robert Goyard decided to enter into a cooperative agreement with other “houses” in the Place Vendôme, including Boucheron, Cartier, Charvet, Chaumet, Guerlain, Morgan and Ritz. Their offices were located at Goyard’s headquarters at 233 rue Saint-Honore.
In the late 1990s, Maison Goyard was purchased by the Signoles family, and the company introduced several new colours at that time. Goyard will monogram their luggage’s canvas with the initials of its customers upon request, and produces special orders and custom pieces, made to order in Carcassonne, France.