Back in the mid-1800s there was a revolution in tourism as trains and boats took wealthy passengers to foreign countries. Suddenly people needed luggage – specifically large trunks to cart their extravagant wardrobes. Step forward Pauline Moynat. This visionary French woman opened a store at 1 Avenue de l’Opera in Paris in 1849 and quickly became the city’s leading trunk maker.
“At that time there were about 400 trunk makers on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris alone, and over 200 on Avenue de l’Opéra,” explains Ramesh Nair, creative director of the Moynat brand today. “For Pauline Moynat, a woman, to start this business in that era is amazing. When I researched the company that was the first thing that struck me – it was a revelation. I wanted to find out more about her but couldn’t find very much. I’m still looking for a picture of her.”