Wednesday, 16 June 2010

A Goyard artisan at work

yesterday we had a preview of the amazing fine art book that goyard will be releasing. the owner of the publication will also get to customise the trunk which houses the book, which includes the painting of stripes and insignia. when i previewed the book last week, i was very fortunate to meet an artisan from paris who happened to be at their london mount street store, demonstrating the art of trunk/bags painting.

vintage goyard trunk from their store at mount street, london

painting of trunks go way back in history. back in those days, the rich and affluent travellers had their trunks custom made. the painting of stripes and code of arms were a symbol of power and wealth. as years go by and technology progressed, the art slowly died down. some of the luxury goods houses still offer the personalisation service, which i feel is a great service which adds a personal touch. but i believe most of the customisation or "painting" are done by machine these days.

don't get me wrong, i love my gadgets. i think i will crumble if i am without my iphone for a day. we need technological advancements, but it would be nice if certain traditions and morals are kept intact for the future generations. goyard is one company that still paints all their products by hand: tapes, ink, brushes, stained hands and all. i am extremely priviledged, to witness how the below bag was painted, the same way they painted their trunks/bags decades and centuries ago.

customers have the freedom to decide how they want the bags to be painted, but most would go for dual colored stripes. with the above luggage piece, the yellow stripes were painted and allowed to dry for a day before the second black coating was applied. when i took the picture, the artisan had just painted the black stripe, we could still see the layer of glistening wet paint.

to get it to the right precision, tapes were used to carefully cover parts and to help create symmetry. the artisan carefully peels away the tape to reveal a small gap between the leather and the painting. there was no spills, no smudges, it was pin point perfect.

the artisan then carefully touches up the sides. if i could, i would have shown you the concentration and dedication in his eyes. this is an artisan that is dedicated to his craft, keeping the traditions alive. on the top left hand corner, you would see a few cylindrical objects. those were actually covers for the paint pods, to prevent them from drying up. yes, i get excited about details like that.

the artisan then painted the insignia, again with pin point precision. whoever "JZ" is, i am so happy for you.

it takes years of effort and dedication for an artisan to learn and perfect this skill, and may i say slowing dying art form. i am sure a machine can do the same customisation in double quick time, but the story and meaning behind it would be lost. i don't know how many houses are still willing to invest in such skills and tradition, but i hope goyard will keep doing it, and hope more will follow suit. and because of the time taken between pieces, current turnaround for the customisation is about 3 weeks. but these are investment and heirloom worthy pieces to last a life time, what's another 3 weeks?

i am very much into processes these days. the finished product looks amazing, but i find it much more fulfilling to understand what goes on behind the scenes, an appreciation of the stories and the unsung heroes. cliche as it sounds, it really is less about the destination but about how you get there. isn't this what life is supposed to be about?

after seeing the goyard artisan at work, i wouldn't want it any other way. slowing down, respecting the craft and upholding traditions, having a unique piece to call your own, really is a luxury.



  1. Beautiful! And to see part of the process must have been a thrill. I'm attending an LV event later and I heard that there will be an artisan from France flown in to show his craft. Eager to see what he will show us.

  2. Do you know what type of paint was used?

  3. Do you know what type of paint was used?

  4. That kind of artisant work...!
    Gives me fever!XP

  5. I love this post! I just love to see every craftmanship behind the scene. It really shows how luxury forms and understand why the price is set that high. Love Goyard :)

  6. I absolutely love this entry. I am feeling your love for Goyard! I think its always great when you can get something custom and special for your travels. No matter how foreign of a place you are in you will still have your wonderful luggage with you to remind you of home at the end of a journey. Great post.

  7. Joe, you ought to switch jobs and write full-time.Excellent writing.

  8. Great entry. I have a lot of respect for Goyard, one of the latest artisan brands in the world and which has enjoyed a fantastic resurrection in the past few years!

  9. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing (you lucky thing)


what's he wearing?