There’s no shortage of luxury labels selling leather goods on Madison Avenue, but a new brand on the block is for handbag aficionados who favor craftsmanship and under-the-radar luxury over mass label recognition. Though it’s been around for 169 years, French leather accessories house Moynat has just opened its first stateside store this spring on Madison and 74th, next door to the Met Breuer and located within what was formerly the Whitney family’s brownstone.
Six decades before Coco Chanel founded Chanel, Pauline Moynat entered the male-dominated leather goods business. Her durable, lightweight and waterproof trunks and travel accessories were a hit with the 19th cenutury jet set. A decade before Louis Vuitton launched their first trunk, Moynat was running a bustling made-to-measure atelier.
One of the house’s most celebrated designs was their English Trunk. Made in 1873, of wicker and canvas, it was so lightweight that it allegedly enabled Brit travelers to return home from their shopping sprees in Paris without having to pay for excess baggage.