Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Goyard Book

i heard about the project way back last year. saw the drawings, the measurements, the details about the publishing, but all these do not compare to the excitement i felt when i saw the actual finished fine art book last week. goyard, the house which perfected the art of luxury travel, is publishing a book detailing the history of the house back from 1792. if the book doesn't triumph them all, i don't know what will: the exquisite large format book will be printed by devambez, one of the oldest and finest publishers/engravers in paris, and housed in a custom made trunk.

let me share some details with you.

pic credit: valerio mezzanotti for the international herald tribune

i was handed a pair of white cotton gloves, and carefully i peruse each page. art director pierre tzenkoff worked on the book for more than 7 years, collecting images and conceptualising the project. every little detail is carefully thought off. the watermarks on the pages, the way the pictures are imprinted to make it feel three dimensional. tzenkoff explained to me that the paper used for the book is made from the same cotton linen and hemp which covers their trunks and bags. even through the gloves, i can feel the thickness and texture of each page, the substance and gravity. caressing each page feeling the pictures, the embossing, the watermarks, that itself is a form of luxury.

slowing down, spending time to read the book with tzenkoff is, a luxury.

top: the watermarking on the pages
middle: a page from the goyard book, showing an archived pic of their store on rue st honore
bottom: pictures were imprinted using traditional techniques to create a 3 dimensional effect

the project took so long to curate because tzenkoff spent time accumulating pictures for the book. i previewed the sample piece, where 20 odd pages were printed to demonstrate how the final product might look like. each picture is a history lesson in itself: black and white pics of the bygone era where travelling in itself was a luxury. pics of people travelling with trunks of all shapes and sizes, pics of vintage goyard trunks in action.

and then i came across a very arresting pic of a young boy. regardless of era, i thought it was an amazing portrait, but tzenkoff said that picture might not make it into the final cut as there were just too many pictures. i was shocked. that young boy, turned out to be françois goyard. am hoping he will change his mind, but here is an exclusive pic from goyard's archive:

françois goyard (1918 - 2005)

the book will then be housed in a custom made trunk. the owner of the book gets to choose the color combination of the chevron print, and subject to availability the number/edition of the publication. 233 copies will be made, after goyard's historic and current address at 233 rue st honore in paris. one can have his/her name printed on the "justification de tirage", meaning that the book is specially printed for you.

the edition of the book will be painted on the trunk, and the owner can also choose to customise the trunk with stripes and insignia. i was lucky enough to meet an artisan from paris, who happened to be at their mount street store last week, demonstrating how the stripes were painted. i took some exclusive pictures, more to come in the next post.

the trunk which houses the goyard book, which one can fully customise

you could see effort when someone pours his heart and soul into something he believed in. this no longer becomes just a book, but a testament of goyard's rich history. the book and trunk retails for €6,000 (€5,000 if you order before 30th june 2010), and sale is by appointment only. for more information, visit the amazingly beautiful site at http://www.goyardbook.com/.

suzy menkes at IHT reviewed her experiences when she previewed the book, and i couldn't agree more. technology is improving everyday, people are reading books on the iPad now. we are getting more mobile, travelling isn't like what it was in those days. it is a commendable effort by tzenkoff and goyard to embark on this project, to remind us that perhaps in this day and age, slowing down really is a form of luxury.

pics credit: Maeva Delacroix



  1. Excellent and exclusive reportage Mr. Joe! That picture of the young boy is so haunting. I think I will never forget that face now.

  2. FM: thanks :)
    i find that pic of francois goyard to be so charming, not haunting at all! i wish i had a pic like that when i was growing up.

  3. It's such a piece of art. I'd never trade my magazines/books for an iPad. Fingering the corner of each page is an experience in itself!

  4. Haunting in a good way, kwim? =)

  5. This looks positively amazing. Uselessly overdone, perhaps, but amazing nonetheless!


  6. what a load of old tosh


what's he wearing?