From the enormous initials that Barney's Creative Ambassador Simon Doonan famously flaunts on his messenger bag to the tasteful-by-comparison 'K " on Kanye's backpack, commissioning a custom paint job on your Goyard accessory of choice has become the calling card of men and women looking to direct even more attention to their high-priced handbags. But just who are the artisans behind the impeccable brushwork? What kinds of talents create the flashy racing stripes—and, in some cases, entire city skylines, the Statue of Liberty, and even celebrities like Lauren Bacall and Miss Piggy? We got the answers from Deborah Soss VP, DMM of Handbags and Accessories for Bergdorf Goodman, where the the first men's-only Goyard store in North America recently opened.
Goyard has been customizing their trunks since 1853, but the service didn't really take off until the '90s—the 1990s. The all-natural (and top secret) paint "recipe" remains the same.
All Goyard artisans are trained at the company's HQ in Carcassonne, a small town in the south of France. Of the four U.S. painters, all based in San Francisco, two travel to the New York store twice a year to consult with clients.
What should you get?
Customizing your Goyard is kind of like getting a tattoo. You can choose from readymade design or bring in a photo or drawing of your own. Aside from initials and stripes, popular choices are animals, flowers, country flags, and the newly offered "signature" service: a replica of your own autograph. The crown insignia is reserved for nobility only—seriously, be prepared to show your royal papers.
Looking for something a little more...exciting?
Goyard's painters may refuse to paint anything they find objectionable (read: no bad words, no body parts).
How much does it cost?
Basic initials and stripes (available every day in the boutique) are $155. "Easy" designs start at $650, "simple" ones are upwards of $990, and "intermediate" jobs start at around $1,800 and increase depending on the level of intricacy and number of paint colors.
How long does it take?
Plan on waiting four to six weeks unless you catch one of the biannual custom painting events, where artisans are on hand to paint anything on any bag. The next one in the new men's store is this Friday, February 28, no RSVP required.
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