The History of Goyard

Bentleys presents a history of Goyard – a tale that began over two hundred years ago. The label has welcomed Maharajas, artists, writers and Rockefellers in the centuries since. 

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Pierre-François Martin creates a business called Maison Martin. Martin specialises in box-making, trunk-making, and packing at a time when the golden age of the great trunk-makers of the late 19th century is yet to come.

By the late eighteenth century, trunk-making and container packing is a well-known profession. If anything, the hats and dresses of that century are even more complicated than those of fifty years later.

Martin’s trade has more to do with the delicate art of garment folding and packing than with that of container-making, as was evident by the sign on the façade of his shop, which claims that:

“Maison Martin sells an assortment of boxes and cases; we provide quality packing services for fragile furniture and objects, as well as hats, gowns and flowers; we use oiled canvas, plain canvas and straw for packing; manufacturer of horse carriage trunks and coat racks, we also supply oilcloth and waterproof canvas, all at a fair price.” 

Maison Martin quickly becomes a favourite with the French aristocracy and is eventually granted the prestigious title of ‘Official Purveyor’ to French and Italian royalty, Marie-Caroline of Bourbon-Siciles, Duchesse de Berry. 

”Edmond takes the Y in his surname and turns it into a chevron design, handpainted in a series of dots on Goyard canvas. This is the first appearance of the iconic ‘Goyardine’ pattern in a handpainted format.”

Maison Martin moves its store from 4, Rue Neuve des Capucines to 347, Rue Saint-Honoré. Though the postal address changed to 233, Rue Saint-Honoré in 1853, on account of a new street numbering system, this location has remained the same for what was to become Maison Goyard ever since. In a surprising coincidence, Louis Vuitton went on to open his own store twenty years later at 4, Rue Neuve des Capucines. Read the History of Louis Vuitton here.

A childless widower, Pierre-François Martin was the guardian of a young female ward, Pauline Moutat. He arranges her marriage to one of his employees, Louis-Henri Morel, and gives his business as her dowry. Morel follows in Martin’s footsteps and introduces himself as the “Successor to the former Maison Martin, located on Rue Neuve-des-Capucines, near Place Vendôme”.

The Goyard name is introduced to the story for the first time. Morel employs Edmé Goyard (1801–1879) and his son François (1828–1890), who have travelled to Paris from their native Bourgogne. A gifted 17-year-old, François receives exceptional training under the guidance of both Martin and Morel.

Louis-Henri Morel dies suddenly.

François Goyard makes box-making, packing and trunk-making his family’s trade when he purchases Maison Morel. In a short time, the house’s corporate name changes from Morel to Goyard, and from Goyard to Goyard Aîné (French for "elder", François being the firstborn among the Goyard brothers), as to differentiate himself from his siblings.

Zinc is introduced as a trunk covering material. A precious metal at the time, zinc could withstand harsh tropical climates and prevent termites burrowing into the wood. Both of these qualities made zinc trunks well suited to colonial exploration.

François Goyard hands the company over to his eldest son Edmond Goyard (1860–1937). Once again the name changes, this time to E. Goyard Aîné, both in recognition to himself and to his grandfather, Edmé, who had died a few years earlier. Edmond turns the store on Rue Saint-Honoré into an elite luxury showroom with an international clientele.

François Goyard passes away, leaving Edmond the business and its workshops in Bezons, north-west Paris. Edmond introduces a “Chic du Chien” range, providing bowls, harnesses, boots and even protective automobile glasses for cats, dogs and monkeys.

Edmond takes the Y in his surname and turns it into a chevron design, handpainted in a series of dots on Goyard canvas. This is the first appearance of the iconic ‘Goyardine’ pattern in a handpainted format. The piled up dot pattern hints at the log driving heritage of the Goyard family, and the manufacturing process remains confidential.

1894 – 1912
Edmond takes on a programme of expansion. Stores open in Monte Carlo and Biarritz, with concessions in the U.S., England, Belgium, Spain and Russia. John Wanamaker becomes Goyard’s exclusive agent in the U.S. in 1899.

Edmond Goyard participates in the Exposition Universelle et Internationale of Paris. Goyard luggage wins a bronze medal.

At Milan’s L’Esposizione Internazionale del Sempione, Goyard receives a gold medal.

At the Franco-British Exposition in London, Goyard also wins gold, becoming ever more popular in high society across Europe.

On the 70th anniversary of the Maison and his 30th birthday, Edmond Goyard’s son, Robert, assumes the role of Goyard’s manager. Edmond remains the creative director. Together they run E. Goyard Aîné et Fils (E.Goyard Elder and Son).

Maison Goyard is given the Award of Honour at the Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs.

Robert decides to enter into a cooperative agreement with the grand Maisons in the Place Vendôme, including Boucheron, Cartier, Charvet, Chaumet, Guerlain, Morgan and the Ritz.

Their offices were located at Goyard’s headquarters at 233 Rue Saint-Honoré.

Robert Goyard becomes leader of the Goyard family and business.

Woven jacquard canvas with the Goyardine motif is introduced for the first time.

Francois Edmond Goyard takes over from Robert, carrying on the family’s tradition.

Jean-Michel Signoles buys Goyard. Without the backing of a leading group, and with complete disregard for marketing norms or mass-production, the Signoles family revives Goyard’s heritage and skills and opens new boutiques in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Within a decade, Goyard is re-established as a beacon of elegance, craftsmanship and exclusivity. Newly opened workshops in Carcassonnes demonstrate the label’s commitment to the next generation of craftsmanship.