December 12, 2012



Réjane, the stage name of Gabrielle-Charlotte Réju, was one of the most acclaimed Parisian actresses of the Belle Epoque—along with Sarah Bernhardt. An artist and a muse, Réjane was the inspiration for one of Maison Moynat’s most emblematic handbags. Designed by Pauline Moynat, this timeless model with delicate curves looks just as chic worn over the shoulder or carried by hand.

After Pauline Moynat moved to Paris in the mid-nineteenth century, she joined the Coulembier family, trunkmaker artisans for generations, to open a travel goods store. Located near the Comédie Française theater, Moynat became the official supplier of custom-made trunks and other accessories to Parisian theatres.

Pauline’s first encounter with Réjane proved a revelation. Réjane was the ultimate  incarnation of the Parisienne—naturally beautiful and high-spirited. To give a more feminine touch to the handbags the actress carried on stage, Pauline invented her first "handbags for ladies", which were smaller and lighter. Réjane wore them in her performance in Décoré by Henri Meilhac at the Théâtre des Variétés in 1888.

As a sign of her admiration for the world of theatre and Réjane, Pauline designed a handbag in her honor. Her small, ultra-feminine and lightweight creation had an interior lined with deep red suede—a color that evokes Parisian theatres—and featured an array of small pockets like little hiding places. She entrusted the production of the handbag to the Coulembier family.

A century later, Moynat Creative Director Ramesh Nair has revived this mythic handbag. Its pure, exquisitely feminine lines are enhanced by a jewel like clasp—a reproduction of an original Art Deco piece. The Réjane bag is available in luxuriant Taurillon leather in blue, taupe and black. The result, quite naturally, is très chic.

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