A story once lost, but rediscovered. Once upon a time, Pauline Moynat left her provincial life and founded the house of Moynat in 1849.
Her first boutique was at 5 Place du Theatre Francais. As the Haussmann redesigned blueprint shaped the city, with the creation of Avenue de lÓpera, the store had the privilege to be assigned No.1 on the avenue.
Illustrious Pauline Moynat found a confidante in spirit, heart and mind, in the celebrated actress Gabrielle Rejane during the Belle Epoque times.
They were very alike: directional and dedicated, true artists and creators.
They inspired each other, and shared the same cause. Every milestone was logged and celebrated with each other.
Rejane was a true ambassador of Moynat’s art, for all she wore in life or on stage were bags and trunks created by the latter.
Moynat also made history as a trunk maker of many innovations.
The brand received its first patent in 1854 for a sturdy waterproof canvas coated with Gutta Percha – a tropical sap – that guaranteed complete waterproofing for the trunks. An important milestone was in 1902: the creation of the limousine trunk for automobiles with a concave bottom that closely followed the rounded roof of the car. A remarkable five patents were registered.
The brand continued to thrive after Pauline Moynat’s passing. In tandem with the automobile industry, Moynat introduced trunks in 1914 individually innovatively shaped to fit the rear of automobiles, complete with their own cover and hood.
The Moynat Initial Canvas – featuring a pattern of M’s – designed by Henri Rapin for Moynat, then became the discrete and elegant signature of the House in 1920.
Henri Rapin also designed a red, morocco leather trunk with a frieze of studs encircling palm leaves in blue leather in 1925 for the House. This trunk earned him the Certificate of Honour at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris, along with the award of 13 medals.
The last known invention from Moynat, was the “New Moynat Automobile Trunk” with innovative side loading cases, in 1927.
The brand ceased operations in 1976, and the spirit and craft of Moynat were rested.
Until 2011: the doors of Moynat re-opened at 348 rue Saint-Honore, with the appointment of Ramesh Nair as Artistic Director.
In the span of six years, Moynat has expanded to key cities: London, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Taipei, and most recently in June 2017, to Singapore.
It is very easy to be distracted by the unique styles, colours and leathers of the exclusively crafted range in the beautiful store.
What is your shopping philosophy?
- When in doubt, don’t buy; or
- Buy now (think later), before it becomes the one that got away.
If you opted for none of the above because your indecision is not “to buy or not to buy?”, but “which one to buy?”, here is a soundbite from Moynat’s President, Guillaume Davin:
“The first impression matters. The other pieces may also be special, but don’t lose sight of the one that made that impression on you.”
Images courtesy of Moynat, Jerome Bryon and the author.