moynat
Moynat Creative Director, Ramesh Nair

If only good things stand the test of time, then Moynat must be onto something great. That’s because the one-time trunk maker and now sumptuous handbag line has been around since 1849, when it was founded in France by—are you ready for this?—a woman. Pauline Moynat tapped into her love of exquisite objects and the Parisian vie riche when she launched her luggage house, and the brand’s current creative director Ramesh Nair, who has helmed Moynat since its 2011 revival, still embraces her emphasis on craftsmanship and innovation. That’s why we’re so excited to be launching the collection this season exclusively at our Beverly Hills flagship store.

From the beginning, Moynat has always brought an artistic flair to the world of travel, a concept that Nair is embracing via an upcoming trip to California to unveil both the brand’s signature styles and a new artist collaboration. Clients in Beverly Hills now have the opportunity to shop both the iconic Réjane bag, which was created for one of the most renowned actresses of the 19th century, and new creations made in collaboration with the French-born, L.A.-based artist Mambo.

Nair recently gave us a close-up look at the phenomenal attention to detail that goes into each Moynat bag made at the brand’s atelier, and we chatted with him about how the collection has grown and changed under his direction. Read on to get his take on the brand and its incomparable quality, or stop by our Beverly Hills store next week to hear about it directly from the man himself.

Barneys Invites You For Cocktails and Shopping to Celebrate the Launch of
MOYNAT PARIS
and the latest collection
MAMBO FOR MOYNAT

Thursday, February 16th
2PM-4PM
Barneys New York, 9570 Wilshire Boulevard, Main Floor
Please RSVP to MoynatBH@Barneys.com

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Moynat bags are still made by hand at the brand’s French atelier. Here, we get a closer look at the making of the iconic Réjane style.

The Window: Overall, how would you sum up the aesthetic of Moynat?
Ramesh Nair:
The most identifiable style signatures at Moynat are the shapes, the details like metallic components, and the effortless use of colors. What brings it all together is the harmony and balance between the elements. This means that what looks simple and obvious at first glance is actually very complex when you look deeper. My design philosophy is very strong on “invisible design,” in the sense that the best design blends seamlessly with the user. It does not overpower the presence of the person carrying the bag, but subtly boosts it so that others notice you rather than your bag. I insist on the values of authenticity and simplicity, not just in my designs and how we craft our bags, but also in how we interact with our clients and within our teams.

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The edges of each piece of leather are hand-painted after being cut.

Do you think the fact that the brand was founded by a woman, even at a time when that was extremely uncommon, carries through in the company’s DNA today?
It is not a coincidence that the brand, known for trunks and especially for its love of automobiles, was keen to include a woman’s point of view and to think of women’s comfort and desires while traveling. Pauline Moynat was not just an astute businesswoman, but also a visionary. Moynat was the first luggage house to introduce a line of women’s handbags, back in 1878. Pauline cultivated close ties with the arts and cultural scene of Paris and was the force behind the idea of creating a bag in homage to the Belle Epoque actress Réjane, the first handbag to be named after a celebrity. Today, this DNA is expressed in the blend of engineering attention to detail. It’s a delicate equilibrium between functionality, beauty, and craftsmanship. The modern Réjane handbag is a tribute to the original and strikes a balance among minimalist purity of line, sensual curves, and rich, buttery leather. The Art Deco closure is a nod to the glory days of the house, and we’ve continued to cultivate links with the arts and music.

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Hand-stitching attaches a leather strap to the hardware for the handle.

Your own personal background ranges from Delhi to New York—how does that meld with Moynat’s Parisian roots?
I have led a nomadic life from childhood—being a military family, we had the opportunity to experience different cultures and influences. These early experiences and my subsequent moves from India to Italy and now to France have given me multiple lenses through which to view the world with empathy, curiosity, and the spirit of an explorer. At the same time, I’m very rooted in myself and my values. This is my vision for Moynat, too—a brand that is anchored in Paris but with its doors open to the world, capable of being different things to different people, but with an immutable, eternal core.

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No detail goes unconsidered when it comes to Moynat’s Réjane bag.

How do you interpret the long history of the brand when it comes to your own designs and aesthetic?
Between the 1970s and 2010, there was a break in the history of Moynat. When we decided to revive the brand, there were no archives and very little information. It was a conscious decision to rebuild the archives and to create a sense of continuity. That’s why I place special emphasis on reviving and sometimes reinventing techniques and materials that flourished in the heyday of Moynat. Exploring the history of the brand, I always look for elements that speak to my personal interests and vision, like art, music, the artisanal approach, and the details of craftsmanship.

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Each piece of hardware, including the protective metal feet and Art Dec-inspired lock, are applied by hand.

How would you describe the woman you design for?
I imagine the founder, the legendary Pauline Moynat: independent, driven, free-spirited in personality and style. The Moynat woman is passionate about objects that combine functionality with beauty and craftsmanship. She values and is used to the finest levels of quality, but wants a personal connection with her belongings that goes deeper than just a brand name—she wants to know what goes into a Moynat piece.

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Internal details, like the inside zippered pocket, receive just as much attention as those on the outside.
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A characature-painted pouch from the Mambo for Moynat collection,

We’re thrilled to be hosting the event in Beverly Hills. Has a California vibe entered into your designs for the collection?
California has a certain progressive culture that makes it a bastion for innovation and the arts. Growing up, California was one of the elements that influenced my worldview, with the hippie culture and music scene. I have fond memories of listening to vinyls of the Beach Boys, The Doors, and Frank Zappa—and the movies that came to embody the California vibe, like Grease, The Graduate, and American Graffiti. This led to my interest in the art scene. That’s why I’m so happy that we are launching the new “Mambo for Moynat” collection in Beverly Hills. Mambo’s work, which feature his signature enigmas and minimalist caricature portraits, is rooted in street art. His bold colors and strong lines perfectly capture the mood of the golden state.

How did the collaboration with Mambo come about? 
I met Mambo at his exhibition in Paris in 2015, and there was an instant spark between us. We ended up speaking for a couple of hours about everything from travel and music to childhood memories—everything except work. In fact, working with Mambo has always been an effortless exchange of ideas and energies. Our approaches differ—he is an instinctive artist, while I am a conceptualist. His random juxtapositions with drippings of paint are like seeing a snapshot of his brain. It is really a metaphor for my own creative process, where an overload of references is distilled to my personal minimalist expression.

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A completed Réjane bag.

Barneys Invites You For Cocktails and Shopping to Celebrate the Launch of
MOYNAT PARIS
and the latest collection
MAMBO FOR MOYNAT

Thursday, February 16th
2PM-4PM
Barneys New York, 9570 Wilshire Boulevard, Main Floor
Please RSVP to MoynatBH@Barneys.com