PARIS — French leather-goods-maker Moynat is taking its message of haute craftsmanship farther afield, disclosing plans to open three gallerylike spaces in Greater China next year.
This story first appeared in the December 15, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The units, each smaller than 400 square feet, are to showcase a tightly edited array of products, including a mini crocodile Réjane bag with a diamond-pavéd clasp that will retail for more than 100,000 euros, or $124,300 at the current exchange rate.
Its most expensive bag yet also signals an intention to march further upscale, with artistic director Ramesh Nair employing a host of rare and exceptional leathers, including the finest box calfskin, natural Barenia calfskin from France and taurillon nubuck.
The flurry of developments coincide with Moynat’s 165th anniversary, and a period of rapid development for the heritage trunk-maker, revived in 2011 by luxury titan Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
It is understood the Moynat business doubled in 2014 as it opened a flagship store in London and planted a series of pop-ups.
The first new permanent “gallery” unit is to open Jan. 8 in the Landmark in Hong Kong, with a Harbour City unit on the Kowloon side following in February, and a Macau location scheduled for April.
“It’s a way to make a first step into a new territory that is more than a pop-up for a few months,” Moynat chief executive officer Guillaume Davin said in an interview, showing renderings of the compact boutiques, each with a different décor incorporating vintage trunks and photographs. “They’re small, but we try to tell the story about the history and our savoir faire.”
Asian clients represent about 60 percent of Moynat’s business in Paris and London, with those from Greater China accounting for about a quarter.
The small-scale units will carry only a fraction of what’s available in London and the original Paris boutique, where Moynat was reborn with an array of handbags, briefcases, totes and small leather goods inspired by the curved shapes and hardware of its automobile trunks of yore.
Meanwhile, Moynat continues its program of pop-ups with Boon the Shop, in Seoul, Dover Street Market in New York and Isetan in Tokyo all hosting installations.
Nair showed a range of new shapes in the precious and fragile leathers — which are not impervious to scratches or stains, and change color with exposure to light and contact with skin. One, called Danse, is a minimalist messenger style in the velvety nubuck.
“Leather is a forgotten gem. It plays a very important role in how your bag looks,” he said.
Nair also unveiled an expanded range of men’s products, including portfolios, satchels and roomy tote bags. They’re considered key for the Asian market.
Davin said customers respond strongly to rare materials and techniques, including the marquetry pouches recently introduced in collaboration with musician Pharrell Williams.
For this reason, he forecast that its average retail price would now grow faster than unit sales.
“The market is still on the lookout for something exceptional,” Nair said.
Also, in the upscale vein, Moynat has collaborated with Chaumet, owned by LVMH, on a bespoke trunk housing a necklace by the Place Vendôme jeweler, with the trunk alone priced at 50,000 euros, or $62,160 at current exchange.