14 NAME KNOW MOY­NAT

The best dressed women across the globe are qui­etly ditch­ing their It bags for RAMESH NAIR’s de­signs

Harper's Bazaar (India) - - BAZAARSTYLE -

IF LOUIS VUIT­TON AND GO­YARD are the last words in lux­ury travel to­day, Moy­nat be­gan the sen­tence. Older than both, the once-iconic French lux­ury travel ac­ces­sories la­bel was started by a woman, Pauline Moy­nat, in 1849 in Paris (un­heard of at the time; women couldn’t even vote). From the first steamer trunks to the first train cases and bag­gage for the first au­to­mo­biles, Moy­nat made them all for the A-list of French so­ci­ety. Then, in 1976, it dis­ap­peared from the col­lec­tive con­science, and was re­launched by Louis Vuit­ton-Moet Hen­nessy’s Bernard Ar­nault in De­cem­ber 2011. At its helm: In­dian-born Ramesh Nair, who, in two short years, has wooed in­ter­na­tional tastemak­ers with his sub­tlety, at­ten­tion to de­tail, and su­perb qual­ity.

Though In­dian de­sign­ers have headed French fash­ion la­bels be­fore—Ritu Beri at Jean-Louis Scher­rer and Man­ish Arora at Paco Ra­banne—this is the first time a de­signer from the coun­try has been hired to re­vive a his­toric French brand. And it’s not a re­spon­si­bil­ity Nair takes lightly. A grad­u­ate of the first batch of New Delhi’s Na­tional In­sti­tute of Fash­ion Tech­nol­ogy (Ritu Beri was a class­mate), Nair moved to Paris in the early ’90s to work at Her­mès un­der Martin Margiela and then Jean Paul Gaultier. And you don’t need to be French to know how im­pres­sive a pedi­gree that is. His job? Roughly put, to de­velop new bag de­signs.

Nair’s in­tro­duc­tion to Moy­nat, how­ever, was ac­ci­den­tal. He al­ways had a taste for things vin­tage, and picked up “some beau­ti­ful Moy­nat Limou­sine trunks at a flea mar­ket”. This was his first en­counter. And his sec­ond came in 2010, when Ar­nault of­fered him the top job. By this time, Nair had made a mark for him­self as a se­nior de­signer at Her­mès. “I was im­me­di­ately in­ter­ested,” he re­mem­bers.

To­day, on the Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, the sprawl­ing Moy­nat store—the only one in the world be­cause Nair be­lieves in tak­ing it slow—re­ceives names like

supermodel Natalia Vo­di­anova, Princess Char­lene of Monaco, ac­tress Leelee So­bieski, fash­ion maven Sarah Co­lette, mod­els Si­grid Agren and So­lene Herbert, and the publisher of Tank mag­a­zine, Caro­line Issa, among oth­ers. Most of them came, says Nair “be­cause the story of Moy­nat struck a chord, and they found that the bags them­selves told the story through their de­tails, the crafts­man­ship, the sub­tlety of the de­signs.”

Nair fo­cuses on qual­ity leathers that are de­vel­oped spe­cially for Moy­nat at the best tan­ner­ies in France. “It starts with the se­lec­tion of ba­sic ma­te­ri­als of the high­est stan­dard,” he says. “We pay minute at­ten­tion not only to our leathers but also to each com­po­nent, in­clud­ing our metal hard­ware, which is de­signed by us and made to our spec­i­fi­ca­tions.” A Moy­nat sig­na­ture that points to the ex­treme at­ten­tion to de­tail is the spac­ing of nails on the trunks. “They are spaced ex­cep­tion­ally close to­gether (7mm apart), giv­ing the lug­gage not only a spe­cial look, but adding to the stur­di­ness,” says Nair.

The la­bel is also an ex­am­ple of look­ing into the past to move ahead into the fu­ture. The Ré­jane bag and clutch are cases in point. Hot sell­ers to­day, th­ese de­signs are in­spired by Gabrielle-Char­lotte Reju (nick­named Ré­jane) who was, along with Sarah Bern­hadt, one the most il­lus­tri­ous French ac­tresses of the Belle Époque, and a loyal Moy­nat client who of­ten com­mis­sioned per­son­alised trunks. And this is another tra­di­tion that Nair has re­vived. A re­cent cus­tom-de­signed trunk for Olivier Krug fol­lows the shape of a mag­num of cham­pagne, and is de­signed to carry one for the mogul of bub­blies. “Another unique project was the break­fast trunk, de­signed and pro­duced for Miche­lin-starred chef Yan­nick Al­leno, com­plete with gas burn­ers and his per­sonal cook­ing im­ple­ments,” says Nair.

Now in the third year of its sec­ond life, the brand is grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity de­spite the dis­cre­tion that flows from Nair (the open­ing in De­cem­ber 2011 saw no celebri­ties, and this year, another will open in Lon­don in Nair’s sig­na­ture sub­tle style). There are no online shop­ping fren­zies and pop-up stores, and, sur­prise, no sea­sonal col­lec­tions. There is also no real logo, just Moy­nat stamped into the metal hard­ware. And by way of em­blem, only a sub­tle art deco re­peat­ing-M pat­tern de­signed in 1920 by the brand’s then cre­ative di­rec­tor, Henri Rapin (to­day re­served for per­son­alised trunks). As for mar­ket­ing, “What is mar­ket­ing?” asks Nair. This deliberate fo­cus on ex­clu­siv­ity makes Moy­nat a brand to look out for. And with Nair, we’re sure the sur­prises will not cease any­time soon. Varun Rana

"We pay minute at­ten­tion not only to our leathers but also to each com­po­nent, in­clud­ing our metal hard­wear,” says Ramesh Nair

Ramesh Nair

Above: The Ré­jane clutch. Right: A printad­ver­tise­ment for Moy­nat’s Limou­sine trunk. Be­low: Natalia Vo­di­anova with herRé­jane purse.

The Moy­nat store in Paris

Moy­nat Ré­jane clutch, price upon re­quest.

Moy­nat Ré­jane bag, price upon re­quest.

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