Once one of the great Parisian trunk makers, Au Départ was relaunched in 2019
Many of the designer leathergoods brands you know and love today are rooted in the luxury travel business. Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Moynat, and Au Départ were all once part of a group of maisons and ateliers that catered to the French and international bourgeoisie—those who could afford to travel the world by train or ship, and do so stylishly.
We know what happened with the Louis Vuitton name. Goyard is also ubiquitous, having been relaunched in the early 2000s. But Moynat and Au Départ are relatively unknown, both having been recently modernized and reestablished.
Au Départ is the oldest of the four trunk-makers, predating Moynat by fifteen years, Goyard by nineteen years, and Louis Vuitton by twenty years. After operating for several decades at a shop across from the Gare du Nord railway station, it was acquired by two brothers who developed its signature “damier” checkered canvas.
During the heyday of luxury travel, Ernest and Paul Bertin operated independent shops under similar brand names, and together, differentiated their products with unique waterproofing technology that helped prolong the life of their trunks and bags. In the late 1950s, due to lagging sales, Moynat and Au Départ merged and operated under a combined brand name until 1976, when the joint label was shuttered completely.
That brings us to today. While Moynat was re-introduced nearly ten years ago, Au Départ was only relaunched last year, with a limited-production line of bags and travel accessories, all made in Italy.
The label’s signature jacquard fabric has a unique geometric pattern that represents the past, while the colors take on a more contemporary feel—and are slightly reflective now—thanks to its bright and luminous yarn. This unique fabric’s qualities are enhanced by the stiff and resistant Hannover leather trim, which helps maintain the bag’s form.
The Roquette shopper tote (above) is the core icon item from Au Départ, while variations like the Le Grande Europa tote and Elysées clutch-crossbody offer different ergonomics and functionality. Small leather goods, pouches, and covers offer the same all-weather sturdiness and reflective logo design.
The Dauphine bag is a classic drawstring bucket bag, rendered in monogram canvas as well as a bright array of primary colors. These petit bonbons are 1960s pop art reimagined for the 2020s. In white, pink, orange, and yellow, they’re constructed of glazed Hannover leather with silver hardware and would not be out of place on Dua Lipa or Hailey Beiber.
We love them all because classic or contemporary, each Au Départ style is practical, polished, and expertly crafted. We’re one of the few online shops to have the brand, and we’re excited to share its story with you.
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