Goyard Handbags: the Real, the Fake, and the Story

Goyard is a lesser known brand than its French brothers, Hermes and Louis Vuitton, but its name rings among the most exclusive brands in the world. But why?

Goyard started as a trunk maker in 1853 (a year before Louis Vuitton, but seventeen years after Hermes).

Goyard was the malletier of many aristocratic famililies in France, creating bags according to their royal colors from their crests. Goyard also claims to have created the first office suitcase (la malle bureau en francais).

Their well-known motif is a three-dimensional pattern, known as the chevron (first appearing in 1892), and is painted in four colors. The material is a cotton, linen and hemp blend that’s coated with gum arabic resin – this results in a super thin, lightweight, and waterproof material.

The brand fell into obscurity, until Barney’s featured it in their window in the early 2000′s. Today, people pay extra money on top of the $1000+ prices to have their initials, a crown, or stripes of every color embellished on their own personalized bag.

You can find them only at twelve stores in the world, including Takashimaya (Japan), Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys (US), the Peninsula (Hong Kong), Daslu (Brazil) and Maison Goyard itself (in France, or the flagship in San Francisco). But as anyone in the streets of NYC (or the auctions of eBay) will tell you, yes, there are floods of fakes out there. Buyer beware when not buying from an authorized seller.

Here are some tips to help you determine if a bag you’re looking at is fake or real:

  • The real material is linen with resin painted on it. It feels thin and light. It does not look, weigh, or smell like vinyl.
  • Goyard handbags are handpainted, so the little dots on the material are slightly raised. Because of the naturally thin linen, you can feel them. Fake ones are printed on by a machine, which would give them a flat finish.
  • The black leather trim should have black stitching to match. Any other color should have white stitching.
  • The leather is treated, so you should be able to easily wipe stains away.

Without further ado, here are the major handbags from the Goyard line:

Jeanne: inspired by the hatboxes of long ago. A ladylike design with a structured body. Women who like the LV Speedys generally like these too. In sizes PM (petite), MM (medium), or GM (grande).
St. Louis: a reversible shopping bag that comes in one of ten colors. They also come with a matching wallet. In sizes Junior, MM, or GM.
Jersey: a rigid trunk design. In sizes PM and GM.
Ambassade: soft-bodied briefcase. One size.
Chypre: structured flap case, similar to an attache. One size.
Comores: a long shopper tote. One size.
Urbain: Literally the most urban; the messenger. One size.
St. Honore clutch: a very limited release to honor their heritage as trunk makers. Available in white, silver, gold, and black. Available at Goyard retailers for a private viewing.