348 rue Saint-Honoré, Paris, France Tel. +33 01 4703 8390
Moynat is one of the most venerable names in the luggage industry. It opened its first shop at Avenue de l’Opera, Paris in 1869, making it one of the earliest established malletiers to come out of France. The brand introduced and patented waterproof canvas coated in the sap of the gutta percha, a tree found in Southeast Asia. It was also known for the “English Trunk,” which was wicker-made, covered in linen canvas, and trimmed with leather.
By the mid-1970s, Moynat fell prey to the pattern that plagued many old-fashioned brands at the time. It closed shop when faced with France’s economic downturn, coupled with the rise in more forward-looking brands.
In 2010, Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury group LVMH, purchased the Moynat name and opened a boutique right in the heart of Paris’s shopping district. The streamlined, silver-ﬂoored shop gave the brand fresh appeal. Taking a different direction from the more aggressive design moves of Louis Vuitton, LVMH chose to stay true to the Moynat tradition. The new designs take its cue from old Moynat luggage, tweaked to modern needs. For example, the trunk still features a gentle curve at the bottom. A design detail originally meant to keep the bottom of the bag from getting wet, it now functions as an ergonomic feature to keep the case from banging against the knees.
Via A. Manzoni, 3 20121 Milano, Italy
Tel. +39 02 9978 6000
Valextra may not roll off the tongue as easily as Hermès or Goyard, but the Italian luxury leather goods maker remains a frontrunner when it comes to heritage brands. Founded in 1937, Valextra opened its first shop at the Piazza San Babila in Milan. Its ascent was an intelligent response to the phenomenon of luxury air travel.
Founder Giovanni Fontana foresaw that discerning travelers would like a tangible complement to the novel experience of taking to the skies. He worked with Milanese families who used saddler techniques to create exceptionally sturdy products. He once used crocodile, elephant, and hippopotamus skins for cabin trunks or hat boxes, pieces now ensconced in the Valextra showroom.
Craftsmanship, rather than ﬂashy marketing, ensured the brand’s longevity. The Avieta briefcase is still produced 75 years later.
When in the 1980s, Valextra produced items for companies such as Dunhill and Armani, many saw it as a sell-out. Sales of Valextra declined as a result. At the turn of the new millennium, a decision was made: Valextra would rebuild its name by staying true to the kind of quality that can only be derived from an artisanal operation. Valextra craftsmen were wooed back to create superior leather goods.
In recent years, Valextra has shown signs that it is ready for reinvention. It recently opened a ﬂagship store in Barneys New York, a space once devoted to Prada, and announced collaborations with the wireless tech company, Blackberry.
54-55 Burlington Arcade London W1J 0LB
Tel. +44 020 7529 5950
Few brands can boast of a client roster as illustrious as that of leather company Globe-Trotter. The fact that Queen Elizabeth II uses this brand as her luggage is already a testament to its heritage. Established in Germany in 1897 by David Nelken, the company uses ﬁne materials and superior leatherworking skills in crafting its luxury products. Living up to its name, the company moved to England in 1901, where it is still based today.
Unlike other brands, Globe-Trotter has remained true to its manufacturing traditions. Products are fashioned from ﬁberboard, a material made out of layers of paper. The Globe-Trotter suitcase is known for having minimal hardware, using rivets to reinforce leather handles, rather than as a design feature. All leather trimmings are still produced using the original Victorian presses. The designs remain streamlined, true to the company’s philosophy of “elegant simplicity.”
However, the company has yielded to change as well, evolving as the market became more sophisticated. Its factory offers corporate services, aside from bespoke goods.
This story first appeared in Vault Magazine Issue 6 2012.