PARIS — Making its foray into the U.S. market, luxury leather goods firm Moynat is popping up in a surprising place: Rei Kawakubo’s quirky Dover Street Market emporium in New York, whose Murray Hill environs are better known for curry eateries and nail parlors than $3,000 handbags.
This story first appeared in the March 17, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“It’s unexpected,” Moynat chief executive officer Guillaume Davin said, smiling at Adrian Joffe, Dover Street’s ceo, during a joint interview on Friday. “It’s taking Moynat around the world and telling the story.”
Moynat is to set up shop in Dover Street’s petite ground-floor event space for a two-month run from April 24 — visible by all shoppers arriving in the building at 160 Lexington Avenue.
Designed by architect Gwenael Nicolas and approved by Kawakubo, the showcase features a mural depicting the 19th-century trunk maker’s original shop on the Place du Théâtre Français in Paris, along with a fixture reminiscent of the Morris advertising columns that dot major streets in the French capital.
The tubular structure opens to display best-selling handbag styles by Moynat, revived in 2011 by luxury titan Bernard Arnault. A vintage trunk and a bicycle outfitted with a picnic trunk complete the display.
Joffe and Kawakubo, the husband-and-wife force behind Comme des Garçons, have a reputation for surprising brand hookups, although Joffe noted that Moynat ticks all the boxes of what Kawakubo prizes: history and authenticity, coupled with innovation.
“We love their bags. They’re very special and very beautiful,” he said. “I asked if we could launch the brand in America.”
While Dover Street Market carries inexpensive items, including $8 pins and $32 knit caps as part of a buzzy collaboration with streetwear brand Supreme, it also sells expensive jewelry, customized Rolex watches and luxury handbags from brands including Prada and Mark Cross. Moynat bags will run from $2,795 for the Petite Quattro to $5,590 for the Réjane bag.
Davin noted Americans comprised about 15 percent of Moynat’s clientele last year at its global flagship at 348 Rue Saint-Honoré.
The Dover Street venture marks the brand’s latest temporary installation beyond those walls, and follows projects at Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Isetan in Tokyo.
Moynat also recently opened a freestanding store on London’s Mount Street, as reported.