Is Goyard a Luxury Brand? History of the First Trunk Maker

Parisian fashion house Goyard has carved a niche for itself as a brand of distinction. With its classic designs and unmistakable logo, Goyard has gained a loyal following among the affluent and influential. Actors Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon are two of the many famous faces seen carrying the brand’s leather goods. However, as the line distinguishing designer and mainstream labels blurs, it raises the question: Is Goyard a luxury brand?

By exploring its history and position within the luxury market, we can gauge whether Goyard is a worthy competitor to some of the biggest fashion brands.

What Is a Luxury Brand? Definition and Characteristics

A high-end fashion house transcends material possessions and embodies a lifestyle and status. The following attributes characterize such brands:

  • Heritage and tradition: You may have noticed that most Maisons have a rich history and heritage. Goyard is no exception, leveraging its trademark designs and craftsmanship techniques to deliver an alluring sense of timelessness and originality.
  • Craftsmanship: Attention to detail and high-quality craftsmanship by skilled artisans are the cores of any luxury brand. Goyard’s lineup of leather goods and other products feature some of the finest materials, resulting in superior quality and durability.
  • Exclusivity: A key attribute that truly distinguishes high-end from mainstream – luxury brands typically limit their production and distribution, or offer special customization services. Why? To maintain exclusivity and build prestige. This hard-to-get strategy also creates an effortless sense of desirability.

In the eyes of many, Goyard qualifies as a luxury brand for epitomizing the above characteristics. Let’s dive deeper into each criterion below.


Overview of Goyard’s History

Goyard’s early origins date back to the 18th Century, when Pierre-François Martin opened his trunk-making, box-making, and packing workshop in Paris, France.


Maison Martin (1792)

Originally called Maison Martin, during the late 1700s, the business focused on garment folding and packing fragile furniture, women’s gowns, flowers, hats, and other personal valuables. The Maison also manufactured coat racks and horse carriage trunks.

The brand’s reputation grew steadily over the years, attracting a clientele that included French aristocrats and prominent figures. Maison Martin eventually received the title of Official Purveyor to Her Royal Highness Marie-Caroline of Bourbon-Siciles, Duchess of Berry.


Maison Morel (1841)

Pierre-François Martin was a widower with no children of his own. However, he was the guardian of a female ward named Pauline Moutat. In 1841, Martin arranged her marriage to Louis-Henri Morel. He relinquished ownership of his business, giving it to Morel as Moutat’s dowry.

Martin’s unofficial son-in-law and former employee followed in his footsteps, becoming his successor.


Maison Goyard (1845)

Morel soon hired François Goyard as his apprentice. Only 17 at the time, the lad was fortunate to train under the direct guidance of Martin and Morel. When Morel died in 1852, Goyard took the reins and renamed the business to Maison Goyard.

François Goyard was the Maison’s head for 32 years, helping the brand reach unprecedented levels of success.


Edmond Goyard Takes Over (1885)

On the 1st of April 1885, François Goyard’s son, Edmond Goyard, inherited the family business. Living up to his father’s reputation (and perhaps even surpassing him), Edmond achieved several milestones throughout his reign. Deemed the official purveyor to kings and presidents worldwide, he launched Goyard’s initial advertisements and participated in numerous World Expositions, which expanded the brand’s reach to an international audience. He also opened additional boutiques and trade offices in Monte-Carlo, Biarritz, Bordeaux, London, and New York.

The illustrious Edmond Goyard is also responsible for the brand’s Chevron pattern, which we will discuss in detail below.


Overview of Goyard’s Heritage and Craftsmanship

Goyard’s heritage is rooted in the art of trunk-making. The brand’s carriage trunks were popular among Europeans for their lightweight construction, exceptional designs, intricate hand-painted motifs, and durability.


The Goyardine Canvas

In 1892, Edmond Goyard introduced the Chevron pattern. Over 130 years later, it has become synonymous with the brand.

According to Goyard’s official website, Edmond took inspiration from his family history. “The dotted pattern clearly references the log drives conducted by his ancestors,” they wrote. “That forms a triple chevron juxtaposed in the shape of a Y – the central letter in the Goyard family name.”

Today, the house’s product range extends beyond trunks to encompass a variety of accessories, most notably handbags. The Saint Louis Tote, which features the signature family pattern, is a must-have among celebrities and fashion enthusiasts. Goyard’s artisans create handbags using the house’s exclusive Goyardine canvas, which is made from natural fibers coated with a combination of oils, resins, and pigments. This distinctive material delivers both durability and a luxurious feel.

Overview of Goyard’s Exclusivity and Special Relationship With Clients

Goyard has manual records of every customer throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries. Stored in a filing cabinet in one of their offices, nominal index cards indicate clients’ names (or aliases) and their purchase history. This manual filing of transactions symbolizes Goyard’s humility and gratitude toward its customers, regardless of whether they were famous or anonymous.

Another distinctive feature of Goyard’s products is their personalization service. Customers can request to have their initials or custom designs hand-painted on Goyard items, further highlighting the brand’s commitment to individuality and exclusivity.


Is Goyard a Luxury Brand?

Goyard’s history and heritage as one of the first French trunk makers, meticulous craftsmanship, sophisticated designs, and customization options contribute to its allure as a high-end fashion brand. Its commitment to preserving traditional techniques and creating extraordinary products have solidified its reputation among luxury consumers.

“Goyard, the French luxury house – with its easily recognizable chevron-printed canvas and leather travel goods – has become one of the most coveted, albeit under the radar, brands in the world,” David Nash wrote in Town and Country Magazine.

“Louis Vuitton and Hermès are known for their luxurious prestige, but they’ve got nothing on Goyard, a 200-year-old Parisian brand,” Hillary Hoffower wrote in Business Insider.

We believe the above remarks answer the question.


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  • History Maison Goyard. (n.d.). 
  • Cary, A. (2021, July 10). Goyard: Unraveling The Storied Trunk Maker That’s Shrouded In Mystery. British Vogue. 
  • Sueiro, C. (2023). The History of the Iconic Goyard Brand. Madison Avenue Couture.