As Longchamp Paris celebrates its platinum anniversary this fall, the future is bright under the hand of the founder’s granddaughter, Artistic Director Sophie Delafontaine.
WORDS BY KIMBERLY SCHLEGEL WHITMAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN SMITH
THE LONGCHAMP PARIS BOUTIQUE AT NORTHPARK CENTER.
At 70, Longchamp Paris is off to the races thanks to Artistic Director Sophie Delafontaine. She has elevated the intrinsically chic French house while respecting its heritage and superb quality.
This comes to her quite naturally. Delafontaine’s grandfather, Jean Cassegrain, founded Longchamp in 1948, naming it for the grand racecourse in Paris. Her father, Philippe Cassegrain, invented its signature bag, Le Pliage. “When I joined Longchamp in the 1990s, I wanted the brand to enter the world of fashion,” Delafontaine explains. “I developed more colorful and fancy collections to make the Longchamp woman come alive.”
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR SOPHIE DELAFONTAINE OVERSEES THE CHIC FRENCH HOUSE. PHOTOGRAPH BY NICOLAS WAGNER.
JEREMY SCOTT'S FAUX FUR LARGE LE PLIAGE TOTE
Delafontaine has introduced fresh motifs by teaming up with trendsetters like Shayne Oliver, Kate Moss and Eres. “Collaborations are always exciting because they open up new horizons,” she says. “It always starts with an encounter with a designer—it’s not something systematic.” The latest is with fashion’s favorite bad boy, Jeremy Scott. He casts playful prints across Le Pliage and cheekily embellishes it with fluorescent patches of faux fur.
Longchamp is sold all over the world but only has one monobrand boutique in the Southwest, located at NorthPark Center. While the boutique offers leather accessories, bags, scarves and more, shoppers can also special order ready-to-wear, like coats, dresses and shoes. Yet it is hard to resist the bright rows of practical yet stylish Le Pliage bags. The canvas tote with a leather flap is light, durable and a traveler’s dream because it tucks easily into luggage. Hence its name: “The Folding.”
THE ICONIC LE PLIAGE CANVAS TOTE IS LIGHT AND DURABLE, AND OFFERED IN EVER-CHANGING COLORS.
“The Le Pliage bag is a real phenomenon,” Delafontaine enthuses. “It is a universal accessory that has been sporting elegant simplicity around the world for more than 20 years now. Its success comes from its unique, very recognizable design. To me, it symbolizes Longchamp’s craftsmanship, expertise and timeless luxury that transcend borders and generations.”
THE AMAZONE HOBO BAG, NEW FOR FALL 2018
Intrepid top model Kendall Jenner is the face of Longchamp’s Amazonian-themed fall collection. The Amazone, a messenger- style leather bag that is wisely designed for women on the go, is new in the collection. It comes in three sizes and a variety of skins, and is so versatile—it can be carried by hand, on the shoulder or across the body on its chain and leather strap. The saddle-inspired hardware is a subtle nod to the brand and its racehorse logo.
“Longchamp is about dynamism, individuality, creativity, authenticity—values we share with Kendall and the generation of millennials she connects with,” says Delafontaine.
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