Behind the HYPE: Goyard's History of Peerless Authenticity and Artisanal Craftsmanship

Inside the secretive French company prized for its inimitable bags, trunks and accessories.

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In the latest iteration of Behind the HYPE, Goyard and its prized leather goods are the subject of detailed investigation. The French brand is regarded as the world’s oldest still-active luxury leather goods and trunk company, with celebrities, musicians and collectors alike all clamoring to get their hands on its monogram-laden accessories.

The centuries-old Goyard was officially founded in 1853 but its roots as The House of Martin date back to 1792 and before, as the Goyard family expanded its logging business prior to moving into the leather industry. In 1834, Goyard opened its historic flagship in Paris, which it retains to this day. 1885 was another landmark year for the maison, wherein Edmond Goyard took over the company from his father and implemented substantial changes.

Most significantly, Edmond Goyard boosted his family label’s cultural cache by cultivating rich, jet-setting clientele and developed the signature Goyardine canvas. A bespoke cotton/linen weave, both that textile and its leather goods famously sport the Goyard monogram. This repeating chevron pattern is perhaps Goyard’s most famous signifier, a repeating letter “Y” created from countless tiny dots. Another highly coveted Goyard touch is the hand-painted monogramming offered at premium prices, further elevating its already expensive wares; bags retail for four figures while trunks may cost upwards of $16,000 USD or more.

Before contemporary style icons like Kanye West, Pharrell, A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert were spotted rocking Goyard’s leather bags and trunks, the house was courting high-profile names like Coco Chanel, Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso and Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle actually commissioned a unique transforming trunk from Goyard, which could unfold into a semi-portable writing table on the fly. Later, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, themselves avid Goyard collectors, enlisted the French company to create a bespoke trunk capable of holding 150 pairs of shoes.

Key to the Parisian house’s success is its low-key presence and reputation for exclusivity, both upheld throughout the digital age. As the company told HYPEBEAST Magazine in 2017, “Luxury is a dream, and revealing too much of what goes on behind the scenes would spoil the magic.” This means shrouding its wares in mystery and strictly avoiding e-commerce. Instead, Goyard uses its limited social media presence to highlight the brand’s artisanal detailing, inviting clients to visit its flagship stores to experience the creations in person before purchasing.

Watch the Goyard episode of Behind the HYPE above and then revisit previous installments, like KAWS Companions and Hasselblad cameras.

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