A rendering of the Moynat store in Tokyo

PARIS — Japanese women prize handbags that are small, simple, extremely lightweight and easy to carry.

This story first appeared in the February 15, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

So says Moynat creative director Ramesh Nair, who devised two that fit that bill — one in leather shaped like a flowerpot, the other a canvas tote with leather handles knotted like an obi — as the French luxury firm readies its first permanent boutique in the island nation.

Spanning about 500 square feet, the ground-floor unit in Seibu Ikebukuro in Tokyo is slated to open March 1 and feature those new styles, anointed Fleur and Charlotte.

The boutique, dressed in the Havana colors of antique Moynat trunks, is to carry a range of women’s and men’s leather goods and accessories, as well as trunks and textiles.

Japanese customers will also be able to take advantage of hand-painted initials and other personalized touches, and order made-to-measure trunks and handbags.

An almost forgotten 19th-century trunk-maker revived in 2011 by Bernard Arnault, Moynat made its first steps into Japan in 2013 with a series of pop-ups at department stores.

“It was time to establish ourselves,” chief executive officer Guillaume Davin told WWD. “We think that we will be successful.”

In tandem with the opening, Davin plans to mount a display of vintage trunks and stage craftsmanship demonstrations “to tell the story and show our very specific savoir faire, especially hand-painting and marquetry.”

The bucket-shaped Fleur bags, while certainly kawaii in vegetal colors and with a vintage logo stamped on the front, have such labor-intensive handles that Moynat’s atelier is currently only able to turn out about half-a-dozen a week. They will be priced at 200,000 and 360,000 yen for canvas and leather versions, or $1,775 and $3,200 at current exchange rates.

Hermès-trained Nair is a stickler for small details and haute quality, insisting that bicolor items – even leather notebook covers – use matching threads for a seamless look.

Later this spring, Moynat is slated to open a two-level, 2,320-square-foot flagship at 935 Madison Avenue in New York, joining a clutch of new attractions on the Upper East Side that include the Met Breuer and contemporary galleries.

Given the store’s proximity to art, Nair tapped Daniel Arsham — known for his disquieting, decaying sculptures — to collaborate on a range of canvas totes, notebook covers and portfolios. They are to be screen-printed with a very convincing puncture hole that can be hand-painted to depict what might be inside.

Moynat is aiming to introduce the items during the Frieze art fair, scheduled for May 5 and 8.

The Manhattan unit will also launch the Gabrielle, a structured, top-handle style with a metal “M-shaped” clasp and leather cut in the curves of Moynat’s early automobile trunks.

Moynat also operates flagships in Paris, Beijing and London, shops-in-shop at Le Bon Marché and Galeries Lafayette in Paris and two pocket-sized “gallery” units in Hong Kong.

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