Our first stop after exiting the train from London was Moynat on rue St. Honoré, a small but beloved French handbag company that New York magazine called “the luxury bag for those in the know.” Its romantic histoire is what fascinates me…founded by Pauline Moynat in 1849, the first trunk maker, and only female in this new field, her silk and velvet-lined trunks were carried on steamer ships, trains and eventually cars by well-heeled and famous Parisians. Custom work (trunks were scaled to the size of train compartments or undercarriage or roofs of client’s cars) is still a hallmark that has inspired the handbags of today.
In 2010 Bernard Arnault, of LVMH fame, revived the company, drawing on inspiration from just those archives of Pauline’s days and thereafter. It was during our visit to the impressive workrooms that I spied their “Fleur,” a leather handbag that resonated 50’s classic chic (it was easy to picture picture Grace Kelly carrying it). I fell in love with the compact bucket shape, the top stitching, the honeyed brown tone of the natural calf leather; the adjustable, removable shoulder strap was a piece of handmade artwork in itself. Guillaume Davin, CEO of Moynat, graciously urged me to take this original prototype to enjoy while I was in Paris for the weekend.
And then it became a game…how often and how many times could the “Fleur” bag be photographed out and about, there with me for every Parisian moment — from checking in to the Plaza Athénée to shopping at Buly to the quintessential French bistro dinner to Uber-ing around town to champagne sips in every cocktail lounge we visited. And to finish — a bouquet from the flower market to honor her name.
But the best meant-to-be image of the weekend is the bartender at the Ritz who, without any prompting, inserted himself into the picture. Giving me the perfect opening to say…be on the lookout for the Valentine’s Day post “Travel Luxe: Paris Cocktail Lounges.”
May there be a Moynat handbag in your future (if only for a weekend).