THE ART OF CRAFT

In this #leg­end ex­clu­sive at The Tem­ple House in Chengdu, Amanda Strang gets to grips with the per­fect crafts­man­ship Moy­nat pours into its bags made by hand

#Legend - - MOYNAT -

The first woman to make travel trunks was a vi­sion­ary. Pauline Moy­nat founded the House of Moy­nat in 1849 and soon made it the most dis­tinc­tively Parisian of all the era’s mak­ers of leather goods and trunks.

Moy­nat set up shop in Paris at a young age and, in her own inim­itable way, trans­formed a trade dom­i­nated by men. She had two pas­sions, which re­mained the hall­marks of the en­ter­prise that bears her name. One was the ex­cep­tional savoir faire of Parisians. The other was the arts of their city and par­tic­u­larly the theatre.

The House of Moy­nat built a rep­u­ta­tion for the qual­ity of its made-to- or­der trunks and other travel para­pher­na­lia. It soon be­came the of­fi­cial sup­plier of such goods to the Comédie-Française, the theatre at 2 rue de Riche­lieu in Place An­dré-Mal­raux in Paris.

The Comédie-Française was founded in 1680 and may be the world’s old­est con­tin­u­ously func­tion­ing theatre.

Moy­nat came to the no­tice of Gabrielle Ré­jane, one of the most renowned ac­tresses of the Belle Époque. Ré­jane was tal­ented and ad­ven­tur­ous. She achieved suc­cess on the stage in Paris, Lon­don and New York, and was well-known for her char­ac­ter, charm and hu­mour. Leg­end has it that Ré­jane trav­elled with a trunk cov­ered in pur­ple croc­o­dile skin so her lug­gage showed off the dra­matic glam­our of Paris and its theatre wher­ever she trav­elled.

The ac­tress was a de­voted ad­mirer of the

House of Moy­nat, and in­spired the trunk maker to de­sign her first line of women’s hand­bags at the end of the 19th cen­tury. It was no sur­prise that the friend­ship co­in­cided with the Belle Époque. It was an era of un­prece­dented re­fine­ment and good taste. Those who ex­pe­ri­enced the years be­tween 1871 and 1914 wit­nessed the ad­vent of won­ders such as the cin­ema and the mo­tor car. The Paris of the era was the cen­tre of the arts’ world, and Ré­jane the muse of the artists and cou­turi­ers.

The friend­ship be­tween Moy­nat and Ré­jane helped shape the his­tory of fash­ion. At the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tury, Moy­nat cre­ated the Ré­jane bag, the first hand­bag to be named af­ter a con­tem­po­rary celebrity.

More than a cen­tury later, in 2011, the artis­tic di­rec­tor of the House of Moy­nat, Ramesh Nair, a for­mer se­nior de­signer for Her­mès, cre­ated a mod­ern Ré­jane, which has be­come em­blem­atic of the House. Each bag is made in Paris by a sin­gle ar­ti­san, who takes 20 work­ing hours to fin­ish one af­ter the leather prepa­ra­tion. More re­cently, the Gabrielle bag was in­tro­duced, quickly be­com­ing an­other iconic bag. Its clean, graphic lines to the sub­tle play of the curves are in­spired from the Limou­sine Trunks, an in­te­gral part of the brand’s his­tory.

And so a dif­fer­ent friend­ship ex­ists to­day, one per­pet­u­ated dur­ing a “spir­i­tual” af­ter­noon be­tween Nair and model/chef Amanda Strang at The Tem­ple House in Chengdu. The old and con­tem­po­rary style of ar­chi­tec­ture res­onates wth the brand ethos of Moy­nat, some­thing

Nair ap­pre­ci­ates when he stays at their prop­er­ties. “Moy­nat has al­ways been about peo­ple and re­la­tion­ships,” says Nair. “The connections I de­velop in­spire me, sim­i­lar to the bond Amanda and I have de­vel­oped.”

Pho­tog­ra­phy / Hans Ding Fash­ion / Sa­cai Lo­ca­tion / The Tem­ple House, Chengdu

Op­po­site: Mini Ré­jane Croco Ceramique Right: the Gabrielle, show­ing the unique clasp in pal­la­dium

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