Longchamp like bags: High end alternatives to Longchamp Le Pliage : handbags

10 Timeless Longchamp Bags to Consider for Your First Big Purchase

Choosing which bag to buy for your first big splurge can be nerve-wracking given the plethora of options in the market. Especially given the many contemporary brands at relatively pocket-friendly price points (emphasis on relative). But one designer brand that’s surprisingly not as expensive as people might think—and not as expensive as its contemporaries—is Longchamp. People know the brand for its iconic Le Pliage but the French fashion house offers much more than that. What makes Longchamp a great choice is its storied heritage (it’s been operating since 1948), focus on craftsmanship (leather is its expertise), and extremely wearable designs that combine form and function.

Interested? Here are 10 best Longchamp bags to consider for your first big purchase:

1. Le Pliage

Fun fact: Longchamp created the first bags made of nylon. It started in the 1970s when Philippe Cassegrain, scion of the brand’s founder, designed bags made out of khaki nylon and leather to serve as lightweight alternatives to heavy suitcases. Later on, a bag of the same make was also invented. Called the Xtra-Bag, it could be folded to a quarter of its size. That would soon become the predecessor of the Le Pliage, which was created in 1993.

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Literally French for “folding,” the Le Pliage is the ideal everyday bag: It’s lightweight, spacious, and the leather shoulder straps are so comfortable. It’s also a great travel bag since you could fold it away in your luggage. The Le Pliage is available in Small, Medium, and Large, with top handle options and shoulder strap options.

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Le Pliage Original, $145 (approximately P6,995), LONGCHAMP, longchamp.com

2. Brioche

If something compact is what you’re looking for, then consider the Brioche bag. Aptly named as such due to its rounded edges and buttery soft lambskin leather, this flap bag features an adjustable strap that allows you to wear it on your shoulder or crossbody (or anyway you want to, really). It’s the purse made for hopping around town.

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Brioche Crossbody Bag, $895 (approximately P43,174), LONGCHAMP, longchamp.com

3. Mademoiselle Longchamp

The Mademoiselle Longchamp collection embodies the brand’s free-spiritedness, as seen in this particular design. It’s equipped with a wide shoulder strap (so you could wear it short) and a detachable strap (so you could wear it long). It’s got generous space, plus it’s secured with a striking silver-tone clasp. Great for daily affairs or catching up with friends.

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Mademoiselle Longchamp Crossbody Bag, $985 (approximately P47,516), LONGCHAMP, longchamp.com

4. Le Pliage Cuir

Sure, the Le Pliage’s nylon canvas and brown leather handles are loved for its function and durability, but if you want something with a bit more oomph, then the Le Pliage Cuir is for you. Crafted in crocodile-style calfskin in a range of très francais neutrals (black, nude, red), it’s an elegant everyday piece that will upgrade any look.

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Le Pliage Cuir Top Handle Bag S, $640 (approximately P30,874), LONGCHAMP, longchamp.com

5. Mailbox

The Mailbox was romantically inspired by the shape of, well, a mailbox (and the letters one receives), but it looked like it came to the brand’s advantage: The result is a streamlined trapezium shape made functional with a front compartment and twin top handles—oh, and in the most Longchamp way, there’s also a detachable shoulder strap for good measure. It’s the kind of bag that will look great in the office or on casual occasions, with lots of wiggle room for when you want to take it for travels.

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Mailbox Medium, $830 (approximately P40,039), LONGCHAMP, longchamp. com

6. Le Pliage Neo

Perhaps the most contemporary take on the Longchamp (that will satisfy those who love monochrome) is the Le Pliage Neo. It’s the same familiar shape but rendered in satin-finish nylon outfitted with tonal leather and straps. It comes in lots of wearable shades like navy, taupe, marsala. Consider it your sophisticated everyday companion.

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Le Pliage Neo S, $225 (approximately P10,854), LONGCHAMP, longchamp.com

7. Roseau

Aside from the Le Pliage, Longchamp is also known for its Roseau, a top handle bag characterized by its rounded edges, exaggerated handles, and iconic bamboo clasp. Like other Longchamp designs, it’s delightfully minimalist. What’s so great about the Roseau though is that it’s a unique yet discreet design. Plus, with the bag’s easygoing vibe, it’d go well with any outfit.

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Roseau Top Handle Bag Medium, $595 (approximately P28,703), LONGCHAMP, longchamp. com

8. Le Foulonné Backpack

Lots of brands do backpacks but none do it quite like Longchamp, which always seems to inject a touch of quiet sophistication. Longchamp has a range of backpacks, with many featuring the iconic logo-debossed flap. This Le Foulonné backpack is spacious, lightweight, and incredibly stylish, thanks to its grained cowhide. It’s a great piece for commuting and travelling.

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Le Foulonné Backpack, $630 (approximatelyP30,391), LONGCHAMP, longchamp.com

9. Cavalcade Crossbody Bag

Inspired by saddlery spirit befitting of the brand’s leather expertise, the Cavalcade bag isn’t your ordinary crossbody piece: It’s round with generous width, and it’s accented by a swivel closure and sleek hardware. Simple yet refined. Great for those who want an understated piece they could wear over and over again.

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Cavalcade Crossbody Bag, $590 (approximately P28,461), LONGCHAMP, longchamp. com

10. Roseau Hobo Bag

The Roseau line also includes a hobo bag for those who love a slouchy purse they could slip on and off whenever, wherever. It’s uncomplicated yet practical. It’s got a wide shoulder strap and the bamboo clasp to close the top. Perfect for those who are always on the go.

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Roseau Hobo Bag, $595 (approximately P28,703), LONGCHAMP, longchamp.com

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Longchamp Tote Bag Review: Why This Tote Has a Cult Following

Most of my favorite purchases have come from jumping on a hype bandwagon. I finally caved and bought Allbirds sneakers last year and—surprise!—they’re now my favorite shoes. I bought Outdoor Voices’ color-block 7/8 leggings after seeing so many stylish women wearing them around New York. I even own that one Amazon coat. Rarely is it that I find something on my own only to realize it’s already a cult favorite. But that’s exactly the case with my beloved Longchamp Le Pliage tote bag.

It was, first and foremost, a practical purchase. I had just started my freshman year of college, and I wanted to upgrade my JanSport backpack from high school for a more grown-up bag. I did a deep dive on tote bags, which lead me to the Le Pliage, a roomy nylon bag with leather straps and a single side pocket. It fit my books, my laptop, and my makeup case—good. The leather envelope closure, gold buttons, and logo zipper gave the otherwise plain bag the slightest touch of elegance, which was a plus. Here, I thought, was a bag that looked timeless but was purely useful.

Despite all my research, I didn’t realize at the time the worldwide fan base Longchamp’s Le Pliage had. It was only once I started carrying it that I noticed it everywhere—on my college campus, on the bus, in foreign countries. It felt as though I had entered a secret society, linking me to several thousand tote carriers who were clued in to the magic of this incredibly plain bag.

Since it launched in the nineties, Le Pliage has been one of Longchamp’s best-selling bags. In 2017, Business of Fashion reported that the brand sold 11 per minute. A representative for Longchamp confirmed to Glamour that it has sold more than 30 million of Le Pliage totes to date.

Part of its popularity can be attributed to its celebrity fans. Kate Middleton famously carried Longchamp’s tote in the early aughts. (She still carries them as the Duchess of Cambridge.) It’s been spotted on the shoulders of It girls like Alexa Chung and Kendall Jenner. (The latter acts as the face of the brand.) Even Meghan Markle—long before she was linked to Prince Harry—was photographed with it slung over her shoulder.

One of several occasions that Kate Middleton has carried a Longchamp Le Pliage tote bag, in 2005

Antony Jones/Brendan Bierne

Meghan Markle carried a Longchamp Le Pliage tote to an event in 2015.

Jean-Paul Aussenard

There’s more to its appeal than A-list sightings. Le Pliage is one of the more accessible bags sold by a designer brand. The small nylon totes start at $125; the large ones can go up to $190. It’s stocked in all of the major department stores (Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus) and on Amazon. (On all these sites, reviews number in the hundreds and are overwhelmingly positive. It’s fairly common for customers to report that they own two or three.)

Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote

During the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, there’s even a more luxe leather version and a bigger expandable version discounted right now.

Longchamp Le Pilage Cuir Leather Tote

Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Tote

“The Longchamp Le Pilage is an iconic bag that is timeless and appeals to all ages,” says Erica Russo, Bloomingdale’s vice president and fashion director of beauty and accessories. “Our customer loves the bag for its functionality, vibrant colors, and chic styling.”

Longchamp Le Pliage Tote Bag · Kate Middleton Style Blog

Kate clearly favours the Longchamp Le Pliage bag.  She has carried the bag in a number of sizes and colours during her time in the public eye. Below, Kate carrying the bag during the 2012 Olympics and at Brisbane Airport:

In the video below, you can see Kate carrying the bag at Lahad Datu Airport in Malaysia:

And again, Kate carrying the bag at another airport. This time in Sydney after the 2014 tour:

Kate Middleton’s Longchamp Le Pliage bags:

We’ve seen Kate carry various iterations of the bag. We know she owns the large and short-handled styles in black, plus other Longchamp bags in brown and red:

LONGCHAMP LE PLIAGE CUIR MINI IN BROWN

Kate carried a small brown tote to her graduation ceremony in 2013. I believe it was from the leather Le Pliage ‘Cuir’ collection. (For a photo, click here.) I don’t think you can buy this in brown anymore. Shop it here in other colours.

LONGCHAMP LE PLIAGE LARGE IN BLACK

I believe Kate carried the large shoulder tote in black to the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. (See photos above).

LONGCHAMP LE PLIAGE LARGE IN RED

During the North America tour in 2011, photographers snapped pictures of airport staff removing William and Kate’s luggage from a plane (you can see the photo here.) Included, was this large red Le Pliage tote.  

LONGCHAMP LE PLIAGE TOP HANDLE MEDIUM IN BLACK

I believe Kate carried the medium-size top-handle tote in black during an airport layover in 2014. (See the video above). Here’s the same version in blue.

About the Longchamp Le Pliage bag:

The Le Pliage bag, apparently, was inspired by the Japanese art of Origami. It is made from nylon, trimmed in Russian leather and comes in a wide variety of colours to suit all seasons.

Here’s how Nordstrom describe the large Longchamp Le Pliage bag:

Smooth, sleek nylon and embossed leather trim make this spacious tote a no-brainer for everyday versatility and elegance.

Bloomingdales describe the bag as follows:

With a nod to timeless French style, Longchamp’s spacious nylon tote perfects the carryall. Its packable design is primed for your daily commute or overseas adventures.

· Double handles
· Zip closure, snap tab closure; lined
· Interior slip pocket
· Foldable design; comes folded with the option to be expanded to full size
· width: 12.25″
· depth: 7.5″
· height: 11.75″
· 8″ handle drop
· Nylon; trim: cowhide leather
· Imported
· Web ID: 641314

Where to buy …

  • Nordstrom – Free shipping & returns in the USA*
  • Bloomingdales – Free shipping for loyalty cardholders; or over $150 for everybody else

Note: All four stores offer international delivery, but research if you’d be eligible to pay taxes if ordering from outside of your own country.

*Details correct at the time of writing (May 2020).  All subject to change.  So, do your homework and check delivery options/prices to ensure you get the best deal!

Longchamp: a favourite with celebrities:

In late 2015, the Daily Mail wrote that Kate’s Longchamp Le Pliage tote bag is “fast becoming a celebrity must-have”. In addition to Kate, photographers have snapped a number of stars with the bag, including Alexa Chung, Mary Berry and January Jones.

According to WhatKateWore.com, both Kate’s assistant and nanny both carry Longchamp Le Pliage bags too.

How Longchamp Turned the Basic Nylon Tote Into a Full-Blown Luxury Icon

Very rare is the product that rises through the ranks of the retail pantheon to become — suddenly — an icon.

Longchamp

Le Pliage, Longchamp’s ubiquitous nylon tote.

In the world of high fashion, you can probably count them on one hand: classic Chanel tweed. Louis Vuitton luggage. Louboutin heels, Birkin bags and Burberry trenches. Each is instantly recognizable, and each carries a starry social cachet that often eclipses its mother brand.

For Longchamp, the French luxury house founded in 1948, this icon is Le Pliage. Thirty million of the ubiquitous nylon tote bags have been sold since the product’s launch in 1994 — a sum that largely contributed to total company sales of $579 million last year. Today, Longchamp says, 10 Le Pliage bags are sold every minute across the globe.

The bags — available in a cheery array of colors and trimmed in grainy brown leather — are named for the French verb ‘to fold.’ Each tote, when collapsed, is reduced to the size of a paperback book.

And at $95 to $145 a pop, they are also significantly cheaper than comparable luxury purses. Longchamp’s own leather handbags, for instance, can reach upwards of $1,000.

Related: Beanies, Tees and Steez: How Shaun Neff Built a $100 Million Business Out of His Backpack

As an energetic — and synthetic — foil to the company’s foundational leather offer, the unforeseen success of Le Pliage has felt like a “viral” event, says the company’s CEO, Jean Cassegrain. (The family owned and operated company was initially established by Cassegrain’s grandfather as a vendor of leather-clad tobacco pipes.)

Longchamp CEO Jean Cassegrain and one of the company’s original leather-clad tobacco pipes.

Image credit: Longchamp

Amid its initial deployment 20 years ago, Cassegrain says, Le Pliage was met with little fanfare, and was supported by virtually zero marketing dollars. Three years later, it suddenly turned into an all-out hit. “It’s not like we created this and decided to make it a star,” Cassegrain says. “It became a star almost by itself — by the sole force of the product.

While even Cassegrain himself seems a little mystified by Le Pliage’s explosive growth, he points to the bag’s intergenerational appeal as one explanation.

“It’s universal,” he said. “Usually, a 12-year-old or an 18-year-old doesn’t want to use anything that’s the same as their mother or grandmother.” The fact that the bag is proudly toted by high school students (as a stylish backpack alternative) and senior citizens alike would seem to point to something of a sociological anomaly.

Related: This 13-Year-Old Entrepreneur Just Debuted Her Clothing Line at NY Fashion Week

And on this, its 20th birthday, while the family is elated by Le Pliage’s achievements, they have also sought to steady the product’s ascent with a careful hand.

Marketing efforts, for instance, have been few and far between. For one, Cassegrain explains, the product became successful enough not to require any ads. Second, the team doesn’t want a nylon product to overshadow its rich roots in leathercrafting. “We have to be careful that the brand is not reduced to that product,” Cassegrain said.

But at the end of the day, he says, the key to creating an iconic product lies in striking a tricky balance between bucking tradition and worshiping it.

“Le Pliage supports Longchamp because of its wide appeal, because it’s colorful, because it’s young, because it brings traffic into the store and because it brings a lot of energy to the brand,” he said. “But the brand also supports Le Pliage because it’s chic, because it has know-how, quality, reliability and a sense of status that the bag alone wouldn’t have.”

Related: Meet the 28-Year-Old Stylist Who Dresses the World’s Most Beautiful Woman

Ever Wondered Why Longchamp Bags Are So Popular?

By Kelly Agnew, Senior Fashion Editor

Founded in 1948 by Jean Cassegrain, Longchamp is one of the most famous handbag brands today—thanks in part to the popularity of the nylon Le Pilage tote (every fashion girl has one). Here’s what you need to know about the French label loved by some of our favorite It-girls.

Photo: Adam Katz Sinding

The family-run Longchamp began its life as a tobacco shop on Paris’ chic Boulevard Poissonniere in 1948. Founded by Jean Cassegrain, the label initially made leather coverings for pipes and cigarette cases. After business flourished the young Cassegrain decided to expand his collection into travel goods and lightweight bags..

After a period of sustained growth fulled by popularity in both Europe and Asia, Cassegrain decided it was time to move into the production of clothing and accessories. In 1993, the now iconic “Le Pliage” bag was introduced— with a collection of foldable nylon bags in a range of sizes and colors, all accented with a signature oval that snaps over the two leather handles.

A modern classic, appealing to both form and function, Le Pliage is utilitarian to a fault. Folding up into the size of a postcard, but when opened capable of carrying groceries or acting as an in-flight tote, the bag soon found fans amongst upscale Parisians on tour. While Le Pliage became associated with European preppies by the end of the 00s, it has since enjoyed a revival with the comeback of 90s minimalism.

Almost 70 years after its inception, Longchamp is still a family run business (Cassegrain’s granddaughter Sophie Delafontaine is Creative Director) and continuously reinventing itself.

Photo: Adam Katz Sinding

From partnerships with world renowned artists and fashion designers like Mary Katrantzou and Jeremy Scott to collaborations with supermodel Kate Moss (she’s appeared in the brand’s campaigns since 2005) and It-Brit Alexa Chung, it’s remained relevant—and adored by not only fashion girls and jet-setters but women all over the globe. Seeing as they’re practical, understated and well-crafted we can’t say we’re surprised.

Scroll below for our edit or alternatively shop all Longchamp handbags here.

8 celebrity-approved bags under $200: Madewell, Longchamp, and more

Maybe you’ve been lusting over Meghan Markle’s wardrobe for years. Or maybe you wish you could look as effortlessly put-together as Kate Middleton. No matter whether your style inspiration comes from British royals or some other celebrities, it can be frustrating (if not exactly surprising) to stalk one of their favorite pieces only to find that it costs upwards of $1,000.

Fortunately, not everything celebrities wear comes with a designer price tag—and that includes accessories, like their handbags. Inspired by the stars, we’ve rounded up eight under-$200 bags you can buy online right now, from popular retailers like Madewell and Nordstrom. Whether you’re looking for a tote, a weekender bag, or a crossbody satchel, there’s a bunch to choose from without blowing your budget.

1. Meghan Markle’s Madewell canvas tote

Credit: Madewell

Madewell is famous for its tote bags.

If you need proof that stars really are just like us, consider this: Meghan Markle shops at Madewell. The Duchess has been seen sporting this Madewell canvas tote bag on numerous occasions, and it’s equal parts casual and chic. It’s so coveted that it’s currently out of stock at Nordstrom and even Madewell is sold out of some sizes and prints. Fortunately, there are still a few left if you want to get your hands on one of the roomy totes.

Many of its reviewers love the size and simplistic style of the bag. “This tote is such a wise investment,” one person says. “I’ve carried similar totes from other brands and I have to say this is my favorite tote to date. One feature that is unique is the second storage pocket. When carrying a large tote it is nice to be able to safely zip certain items away and also slide a phone in and out of the additional pocket. I use it every day.”

Get The Canvas Transport Tote for $85 from Madewell

2. Reese Witherspoon’s reversible Draper James bag

Credit: Draper James

Two bags in one.

Draper James is Reese Witherspoon’s charming lifestyle brand that was inspired by the style and tradition of her grandparents’ Southern heritage. While there are plenty of different bag styles from wristlets to satchels, this reversible tote is a favorite, with a high 4.5-star rating. Shoppers say it’s well-made and durable and that the size is just right—not too big, but not too small. Even better? You can choose either its brown or light blue side depending on the day, so you’re getting two totes for the price of one.

Get the Leather Reversible Mini Tote for $118 from Draper James

3. Taylor Swift’s oxblood satchel

Credit: Cambridge Satchel Co.

So British, so chic.

Red is more than just the title of one of Taylor’s best albums—it’s also the color of one of her go-to bags. This satchel, which comes in a rich, gorgeous oxblood hue, is handmade from natural cow leather. It has a timeless design that will last for years to come and a push-lock closure that will keep your belongings safe and secure. There’s also both a handle and an adjustable shoulder strap so you have the option to go hands-free. For a personalized touch, you can add a monogram or the embossing of your choice for $10.

Get the Mini Poppy Bag in Leather from Cambridge Satchel Company for $140

4. Kate Middleton’s Longchamp tote

Credit: Longchamp

Leather accents add a pop of elegance.

Meghan isn’t the only royal with good taste in affordable bags. Kate Middleton has been seen on many occasions with the wildly popular Longchamp bag. The iconic tote comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and prints, and has over 1,600 reviews at Nordstrom. It’s made with a water-resistant nylon so you can use it in any weather without worrying about damage. Commuters and travelers alike will appreciate the strong zip closure.

“I love this bag!” one person gushes. “The leather straps are thick and sturdy but not at all heavy or uncomfortable. The material of the bag itself is thick but not stiff and easy to wipe off.” Many reviewers add that they like the Longchamp tote so much that they’ve bought it in multiple colors—one even owns eight!

Get the Longchamp Le Pliage Original Shoulder Bag from Nordstrom for $145

5. Jessica Alba’s leather Cuyana bag

Credit: Cuyana

Italian leather has never looked so good.

Cuyana is a brand that’s been a favorite of influencers and celebrities—including Jessica Alba, Meghan Markle, and Reese Witherspoon—for many years, thanks to its luxe leather bags that sport a modern minimalist design. The classic tote comes in 10 stunning shades, such as blush, merlot, and caramel and it weighs just over a pound, which reviewers say makes it comfortable to carry around all day. Like Jessica—whose bag has her initials embossed in gold—you can get your Cuyana bag monogrammed for an additional $15.

Get the Classic Leather Tote from Cuyana for $175

6.

Shay Mitchell’s Béis weekender

Credit: Beis

Opt for basic black or creamy ecru.

Whether you’re going away for a long weekend, heading into work, or going to the gym, Shay Mitchell’s Béis bag can be used for all of the above and more. It can fit up to a 16-inch laptop, has a water-resistant canvas exterior, and features a trolley sleeve on the back so you can easily slip it over your suitcase handle. The separate bottom compartment, which can fit a pair of shoes, also zips off completely for days you simply don’t need the extra space.

Nordstrom shoppers have given the weekender a 4.2-star rating. “The construction and quality of the material is fantastic, I can fill it completely full and it’s still comfortable to carry, and the bottom storage is something that I have been waiting all of my life for!” one person says. “It’s nice and roomy inside and the boning at the rim helps it keeps its shape.”

Get the Béis Weekend Travel Tote from Nordstrom for $98

7.

Rachel McAdams’ Madewell crossbody bag

Credit: Madewell

It’s great for everyday wear.

Another celeb, another Madewell bag. Rachel McAdams’ leather crossbody is a smaller version of the brand’s top-selling Transport Tote. With a 4.7-star rating from Nordstrom shoppers, the bag is praised for how versatile it is and for its surprisingly roomy interior given its streamlined size. The shoulder strap can be removed if you’d rather carry it by hand and there’s an exterior pocket to hold things you need to have easy access to, like your keys or phone.

Take it from this passionate reviewer: “This bag is perfect,” they explain. “The leather is gorgeous, the strap is strong, and the inside is huge. It’s structured and stands up on its own and has a zipper closure, which is necessary in my opinion. It fits everything while still appearing compact, cute, and fashionable.”

Get the Madewell Small Transport Crossbody from Nordstrom for $158

8.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s Samsonite backpack

Credit: Samsonite

Like your favorite backpack but for adults.

Meet the stylish backpack that even Carrie Bradshaw would approve of. A collaboration between Sarah Jessica Parker and Samsonite, this convertible bag marries fashion and function. Featuring plenty of peppy accents like a neon strap and rainbow zipper, the main bag can be worn four different ways: as a backpack, a shoulder bag, a crossbody bag, or a handheld bag. It also comes with a separate crossbody clutch that you can attach to the backpack when you’re on the go.

Reviewers like that there is plenty of storage space and pockets to keep all of your things organized—one pocket even has an RFID-lining to protect your credit cards or passport—and that the adjustable straps are very well-padded.

Get the Carried Away Convertible Backpack from Samsonite for $196

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, product reviews, and more.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Does Le Pliage Help or Hurt the Longchamp Luxury Brand?

Brian Kenny: Here’s an icebreaker question for your next cocktail party: What do horses and handbags have in common? The answer? Longchamp. Let me explain.

Longchamp racetrack outside of Paris is a premier horse racing venue. It happened to be on the same street as the tobacco shop where Jean Cassegrain began making high end leather-wrapped pipes that became very popular with GIs passing through the city during the war. Inspired by the vibrancy and beauty of the racetrack, he adopted the name, which means long fields, for his burgeoning business. Fast forward 60 years, and Longchamp is a major player in the $4 billion industry of luxury handbags, where competition is fierce and growth hard to come by. It’s a competition of thoroughbreds. Today, we will hear from Professor Jill J. Avery about her case entitled Longchamp. I’m your host, Brian Kenny, and you’re listening to Cold Call.

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Jill Avery is a senior lecturer in the Marketing Unit at Harvard Business School, and an expert on brand management and customer relationship management. Before coming to HBS she managed several world class brands herself, the likes of Gillette, Braun, Sam Adams, and AT&T. Jill, thanks for joining us today.

Jill Avery: It’s my pleasure.

Kenny: It’s sort of a case about contrasts. Luxury versus accessible. Retail versus wholesale. History versus forward looking. I’d love to tease some of that out in our conversation today. If you can just set the case up for us. Who’s the protagonist and what’s on their mind?

Avery: We have two protagonists here, sister and brother, and they are the grandchildren of the founder of Longchamp. We have Jean Cassegrain, who is the chief executive officer, and his sister Sophie Delafontaine, who is artistic director. They work together to run the company.

The case begins as they nervously await buyers. They are about to present their spring and summer collection. This is a big moment for any fashion brand. The future hangs in the balance, and they’re waiting for the buyers to decide whether this collection will fly. It’s a moment in time where they’re both looking back at the heritage of the company that their grandfather founded, but also looking forward. They have ambitious growth goals. They’re trying to grow the company by double digits, but they’re in an industry of slow growth. They’re facing encroaching competition from the Americans. Accessible luxury brands like Tory Birch, Michael Kors, Coach are encroaching onto their territory. That’s making their brand position feel a little crowded in the marketplace.

Kenny: Why did you choose to write about Longchamp aside from the fact that you get to go to Paris to write the case?

Avery: Life is tough. One day my daughter, a teenager in high school, came home from school and said, “Mom, can I get a Longchamp bag?” I thought, “Oh my goodness. How does my teenage daughter know about one of the world’s best luxury brands?” I thought it was so interesting that someone so young could be interested in a brand that had so much meaning and accessibility for me at my age. It made me start thinking about Longchamp and how iconic its Le Pliage bag had become. The fact that teenagers were finding it to be an “it” bag, that I, as a mother, was using it, and that even my own mother was attracted to the brand, was interesting. Usually we don’t see brands that have that broad appeal across social dimensions.

“Accessible luxury looks like luxury, but it actually is fundamentally different”

Kenny: Spanning the generations—that’s really interesting. The history of the company was interesting to me as well, because they didn’t start out making handbags.

Avery:: Longchamp has a long and storied tradition. They are a French luxury brand, and very much steeped in the tradition and heritage of artisan manufacturing and their French heritage. It was started as a brand in the post-World War II period in Paris. As you mentioned in your opening, the Cassegrain’s grandfather, also named Jean, opened a cigar shop and found that there was a taste for luxury in the post-war environment. He began wrapping his pipes in beautiful leather as a way to bring luxury to the smoking category. He used the best materials and the finest craftsmanship to build the pipe covers.

He eventually branched out into small leather goods, and also caught the wave of international travel, and introduced luggage and travel goods. He was one of the first retailers to open a shop in Paris’s Orly airport, and also featured his goods on some of the transatlantic ships making trips to America. In the 1970s he branched out into women’s handbags, which became an instant success in some of the Asian countries, particularly Japan and Hong Kong.

The company’s real breakthrough came in 1993 when his son, Philippe, introduced Le Pliage, a nylon handbag for women that featured a truly innovative origami-like folding design, which made it incredibly practical but also quite fashionable because it bore the Longchamp brand and featured a leather handle and meticulous craftsmanship. This was a product that immediately caught on with schoolgirls and became an “it” bag during the early and mid-1990s.

Kenny: This is a family-owned business, now the third generation. Does that create a difficult dynamic for them as a family? You worked with them when you wrote the case.

Avery: They’re an amazing family. They have grown up in the company. Both of their parents are still very actively involved. They live and breathe Longchamp. The brother and sister pair that are currently working the company work extremely well together. I think what I found most interesting was the fact that it being a family business allows them to take a long-term perspective. Very different from some of the publicly traded companies that I’ve worked with. This is a management team that thinks in generations, not in quarters. It gives them a much different perspective. They do things that are right for the future. They really think about their brand as an asset to be protected and to be nurtured. That affects everything that they do. When they think about strategy, they’re cautious. They’re slow, they’re steady. They take risks, but they’re measured risks, and they’re really about making sure they deliver the company, in the future, to the next generation in a stronger position than they were handed when they took over.

Kenny: You had a great quote by Jean Cassegrain in the case, where he says, “Even though everything has evolved, nothing has changed.”

Avery: Yes, and that’s where we find ourselves at the time of the case. We’re looking back and we’re cherishing the heritage of this brand that has been built up over decades, but also looking forward in a rapidly changing industry. How do we marry the past with the future, and what do we need to do in the present to make sure that we’re true to the heritage that our grandfather started, but also true to consumers’ desires and needs in the future?

Kenny: This is a very competitive space. Can you describe this luxury handbag space?

Avery: Luxury accessories are definitely on the upswing. This is a market that has had a lot of attention and has changed in very fundamental ways over the past decade in particular. Luxury accessories used to be an afterthought. They used to be purely functional. You would carry a handbag, wear a pair of shoes, and put on a scarf, for functional reasons. Over the last decade luxury accessories have really taken on a life of their own. They’ve become much more fashion forward. A woman, now, has multiple handbags, multiple pairs of shoes, multiple scarves, each one expressing a different perspective about her and a different piece of her identity. It’s almost been an anthropological shift, where we’ve moved from function to fashion.

At the same time, we’ve seen lots of competitors come into the space. Traditionally, particularly in leather making, there were specialty houses, companies that were skilled in choosing the right materials, selecting the very best leather, and carefully and meticulously crafting that into beautiful products. Today, we have literally every fashion brand in the leather space. People who have started in soft goods, ready-to-wear fashion, have moved into handbags, and shoes, and other accessory categories. It’s getting a lot more crowded. The traditions are falling by the wayside for many of these new companies who are imitating but not replicating the craftsmanship of the true leather makers.

“This is a management team that thinks in generations, not in quarters. It gives them a much different perspective.”

Kenny: Does that constitute the accessible luxury category? They’re sort of mass producing things that have a brand, but they’re not doing it in a way that’s really consistent with the tradition of luxury goods.

Avery: I think accessible luxury is accessible on two parts. It’s accessible from a price perspective. Accessible luxury products are priced lower than traditional luxury. They’re also accessible from a distribution standpoint. They’re widely available, distributed widely, loose restrictions on distribution, lots of licensing opportunities. Consumers are able to buy into these brands … much more than they would for traditional brands. What you’re seeing the accessible luxury brands do is borrow the codes of high luxury, of traditional luxury, but shortcut some of the traditions and the processes, the materials, the workmanship, the artisanry of traditional luxury. Accessible luxury looks like luxury, but it actually is fundamentally different, and that’s what enables them to have a lower cost base and therefore support lower pricing.

Kenny: Longchamp did it differently with their Le Pliage. They’ve been able to find an accessible product that still holds true to the traditions that the company had.

Avery: Le Pliage is really interesting. It’s almost a paradox in itself. It’s a luxury product at a low price. It’s priced at about 55 euros, much lower than the rest of Longchamp’s line, but meticulously crafted in their own workshops. It’s beautifully constructed. It’s functional and fashionable. It’s chic and timeless. It’s one of these products that has become an icon and has lived on through the ages.

The challenge with the product for Longchamp is it tends to anchor the brand in that accessible luxury space. Its lower price point, its wider accessibility, makes the brand be perceived as more of an accessible luxury brand than Jean and Sophie would like the brand to be. Part of their goal for growth is to move the brand closer to traditional luxury, to higher luxury, to what they call optimistic luxury, moving it away from the accessible luxury space. Every time they make moves in that direction, the success of Le Pliage pulls them back down closer to accessible luxury.

Kenny: Is there any disagreement in the family about (Le Pliage)? If they really went full bore with it, they could make all the profit that they need off of it, but there seems to be a tension there.

Avery: We definitely had some great conversations when I was in Paris about unleashing Le Pliage. A quick way to grow the company, if you want to achieve that double-digit growth, is to unleash some of the restrictions on Le Pliage. We could distribute Le Pliage more widely. We could license Le Pliage for other products. We talked about foldable shoes, or foldable T-shirts, or opening Le Pliage-only shops, and really unleashing this brand that has tremendous energy and excitement behind it. But every time we got too excited about that, we started to worry about what would be the impact of Le Pliage on Longchamp?

When you talk to many people outside of France, in particular, about Longchamp, they talk about Le Pliage. I think the challenge for the brand is keeping Le Pliage going and leveraging its strength and excitement, but really refocusing customers’ attention on the core Longchamp brand and its leather handbag collection and other goods.

Kenny: You could almost have a two-tiered strategy where you’ve got the very exclusive Longchamp luxury products on one tier, and Le Pliage on a separate tier.

Avery: Right. Structurally, how does that work? Le Pliage benefits greatly from its association with the Longchamp brand. Longchamp benefits greatly from its association with Le Pliage. Any kind of separation starts to feel uncomfortable. Le Pliage also hurts Longchamp to a certain extent, and perhaps Longchamp hurts Le Pliage to a certain extent. The degree of separation, how much separation is appropriate, is really the strategic struggle that the team is working through.

Kenny: I thought it was very interesting that they had started to move into adjacent areas. I’m thinking about fashion in particular and the way that that happened.

Avery: This really came out of a dilemma that Sophie noticed as she was merchandising Longchamp’s flagship stores. These are stores owned by the company. She felt, as she was merchandising them, that they felt lifeless, that they felt flat, that the shelves of handbags, and leather goods, and luggage were lacking a vitality that would make them more appealing. She wanted mannequins in the store, and she wanted mannequins to be able to wear clothing and present a full Longchamp lifestyle, so she dressed the mannequins, and that’s how the original ready-to-wear and shoe collections came into being.

Kenny: You can buy a whole matching ensemble, clothing, shoes, accessories.

Avery: Yes. Women’s ready-to-wear shoes. A lot of it focused on leather, but not necessarily. Presenting a full look for the collection so that a woman could imagine herself in a Longchamp lifestyle.

Kenny: What about the guys? There’s nothing for the guys at Longchamp?

“I think they continue to struggle with the opportunities and challenges that are presented in the case”

Avery: Actually, there’s so much for men at Longchamp. Longchamp offers a full selection of men’s travel luggage, briefcases, wallets, small leather goods.

Kenny: You don’t have to give anything away, but any insights that you can share (about the case)?

Avery: I think they continue to struggle with the opportunities and challenges that are presented in the case. They have decided to keep Le Pliage within the Longchamp brand family, but they have extended the brand upwards with two exciting leather products, Le Pliage Heritage and Le Pliage Cuir. Cuir is a foldable leather version of Le Pliage, priced much higher. Heritage is a top-of-the-line, high priced leather handbag that has the same silhouette as Le Pliage. What they’re trying to do is stretch the meaning of the Le Pliage brand into those higher price points, and more importantly, into leather making and the quality of leather craftsmanship.

Kenny: I should point out that we’re recording this just shorty after Michael Kors announced that they’re closing numerous stores in the US, so it’s clearly a very competitive space and continues to be tumultuous.

Avery: Accessible luxury is growing rapidly as a category. It’s something that consumers are responding very positively to, but it’s often populated by brands that exhibit fad lifestyles. These are short-lived brands that shoot up in sales very, very, quickly, but also tend to fall hard when they fall out of favor. This is why Longchamp doesn’t want to be in this category. Longchamp is a brand for the ages. They want to be a brand that’s as relevant tomorrow as they are today. They are fighting any kind of fad lifecycle for their brand and trying to maintain it for the longer term.

Kenny: You can find the Longchamp case along with thousands of others in the HBS case collection at HBR.org. I’m your host, Brian Kenny, and you’ve been listening to Cold Call, the official podcast of Harvard Business School.

 Read more

Brian Kenny: Here’s an icebreaker question for your next cocktail party: What do horses and handbags have in common? The answer? Longchamp. Let me explain.

Longchamp racetrack outside of Paris is a premier horse racing venue. It happened to be on the same street as the tobacco shop where Jean Cassegrain began making high end leather-wrapped pipes that became very popular with GIs passing through the city during the war. Inspired by the vibrancy and beauty of the racetrack, he adopted the name, which means long fields, for his burgeoning business. Fast forward 60 years, and Longchamp is a major player in the $4 billion industry of luxury handbags, where competition is fierce and growth hard to come by. It’s a competition of thoroughbreds. Today, we will hear from Professor Jill J. Avery about her case entitled Longchamp. I’m your host, Brian Kenny, and you’re listening to Cold Call.

.

Jill Avery is a senior lecturer in the Marketing Unit at Harvard Business School, and an expert on brand management and customer relationship management. Before coming to HBS she managed several world class brands herself, the likes of Gillette, Braun, Sam Adams, and AT&T. Jill, thanks for joining us today.

Jill Avery: It’s my pleasure.

Kenny: It’s sort of a case about contrasts. Luxury versus accessible. Retail versus wholesale. History versus forward looking. I’d love to tease some of that out in our conversation today. If you can just set the case up for us. Who’s the protagonist and what’s on their mind?

Avery: We have two protagonists here, sister and brother, and they are the grandchildren of the founder of Longchamp. We have Jean Cassegrain, who is the chief executive officer, and his sister Sophie Delafontaine, who is artistic director. They work together to run the company.

The case begins as they nervously await buyers. They are about to present their spring and summer collection. This is a big moment for any fashion brand. The future hangs in the balance, and they’re waiting for the buyers to decide whether this collection will fly. It’s a moment in time where they’re both looking back at the heritage of the company that their grandfather founded, but also looking forward. They have ambitious growth goals. They’re trying to grow the company by double digits, but they’re in an industry of slow growth. They’re facing encroaching competition from the Americans. Accessible luxury brands like Tory Birch, Michael Kors, Coach are encroaching onto their territory. That’s making their brand position feel a little crowded in the marketplace.

Kenny: Why did you choose to write about Longchamp aside from the fact that you get to go to Paris to write the case?

Avery: Life is tough. One day my daughter, a teenager in high school, came home from school and said, “Mom, can I get a Longchamp bag?” I thought, “Oh my goodness. How does my teenage daughter know about one of the world’s best luxury brands?” I thought it was so interesting that someone so young could be interested in a brand that had so much meaning and accessibility for me at my age. It made me start thinking about Longchamp and how iconic its Le Pliage bag had become. The fact that teenagers were finding it to be an “it” bag, that I, as a mother, was using it, and that even my own mother was attracted to the brand, was interesting. Usually we don’t see brands that have that broad appeal across social dimensions.

“Accessible luxury looks like luxury, but it actually is fundamentally different”

Kenny: Spanning the generations—that’s really interesting. The history of the company was interesting to me as well, because they didn’t start out making handbags.

Avery:: Longchamp has a long and storied tradition. They are a French luxury brand, and very much steeped in the tradition and heritage of artisan manufacturing and their French heritage. It was started as a brand in the post-World War II period in Paris. As you mentioned in your opening, the Cassegrain’s grandfather, also named Jean, opened a cigar shop and found that there was a taste for luxury in the post-war environment. He began wrapping his pipes in beautiful leather as a way to bring luxury to the smoking category. He used the best materials and the finest craftsmanship to build the pipe covers.

He eventually branched out into small leather goods, and also caught the wave of international travel, and introduced luggage and travel goods. He was one of the first retailers to open a shop in Paris’s Orly airport, and also featured his goods on some of the transatlantic ships making trips to America. In the 1970s he branched out into women’s handbags, which became an instant success in some of the Asian countries, particularly Japan and Hong Kong.

The company’s real breakthrough came in 1993 when his son, Philippe, introduced Le Pliage, a nylon handbag for women that featured a truly innovative origami-like folding design, which made it incredibly practical but also quite fashionable because it bore the Longchamp brand and featured a leather handle and meticulous craftsmanship. This was a product that immediately caught on with schoolgirls and became an “it” bag during the early and mid-1990s.

Kenny: This is a family-owned business, now the third generation. Does that create a difficult dynamic for them as a family? You worked with them when you wrote the case.

Avery: They’re an amazing family. They have grown up in the company. Both of their parents are still very actively involved. They live and breathe Longchamp. The brother and sister pair that are currently working the company work extremely well together. I think what I found most interesting was the fact that it being a family business allows them to take a long-term perspective. Very different from some of the publicly traded companies that I’ve worked with. This is a management team that thinks in generations, not in quarters. It gives them a much different perspective. They do things that are right for the future. They really think about their brand as an asset to be protected and to be nurtured. That affects everything that they do. When they think about strategy, they’re cautious. They’re slow, they’re steady. They take risks, but they’re measured risks, and they’re really about making sure they deliver the company, in the future, to the next generation in a stronger position than they were handed when they took over.

Kenny: You had a great quote by Jean Cassegrain in the case, where he says, “Even though everything has evolved, nothing has changed.”

Avery: Yes, and that’s where we find ourselves at the time of the case. We’re looking back and we’re cherishing the heritage of this brand that has been built up over decades, but also looking forward in a rapidly changing industry. How do we marry the past with the future, and what do we need to do in the present to make sure that we’re true to the heritage that our grandfather started, but also true to consumers’ desires and needs in the future?

Kenny: This is a very competitive space. Can you describe this luxury handbag space?

Avery: Luxury accessories are definitely on the upswing. This is a market that has had a lot of attention and has changed in very fundamental ways over the past decade in particular. Luxury accessories used to be an afterthought. They used to be purely functional. You would carry a handbag, wear a pair of shoes, and put on a scarf, for functional reasons. Over the last decade luxury accessories have really taken on a life of their own. They’ve become much more fashion forward. A woman, now, has multiple handbags, multiple pairs of shoes, multiple scarves, each one expressing a different perspective about her and a different piece of her identity. It’s almost been an anthropological shift, where we’ve moved from function to fashion.

At the same time, we’ve seen lots of competitors come into the space. Traditionally, particularly in leather making, there were specialty houses, companies that were skilled in choosing the right materials, selecting the very best leather, and carefully and meticulously crafting that into beautiful products. Today, we have literally every fashion brand in the leather space. People who have started in soft goods, ready-to-wear fashion, have moved into handbags, and shoes, and other accessory categories. It’s getting a lot more crowded. The traditions are falling by the wayside for many of these new companies who are imitating but not replicating the craftsmanship of the true leather makers.

“This is a management team that thinks in generations, not in quarters. It gives them a much different perspective.”

Kenny: Does that constitute the accessible luxury category? They’re sort of mass producing things that have a brand, but they’re not doing it in a way that’s really consistent with the tradition of luxury goods.

Avery: I think accessible luxury is accessible on two parts. It’s accessible from a price perspective. Accessible luxury products are priced lower than traditional luxury. They’re also accessible from a distribution standpoint. They’re widely available, distributed widely, loose restrictions on distribution, lots of licensing opportunities. Consumers are able to buy into these brands … much more than they would for traditional brands. What you’re seeing the accessible luxury brands do is borrow the codes of high luxury, of traditional luxury, but shortcut some of the traditions and the processes, the materials, the workmanship, the artisanry of traditional luxury. Accessible luxury looks like luxury, but it actually is fundamentally different, and that’s what enables them to have a lower cost base and therefore support lower pricing.

Kenny: Longchamp did it differently with their Le Pliage. They’ve been able to find an accessible product that still holds true to the traditions that the company had.

Avery: Le Pliage is really interesting. It’s almost a paradox in itself. It’s a luxury product at a low price. It’s priced at about 55 euros, much lower than the rest of Longchamp’s line, but meticulously crafted in their own workshops. It’s beautifully constructed. It’s functional and fashionable. It’s chic and timeless. It’s one of these products that has become an icon and has lived on through the ages.

The challenge with the product for Longchamp is it tends to anchor the brand in that accessible luxury space. Its lower price point, its wider accessibility, makes the brand be perceived as more of an accessible luxury brand than Jean and Sophie would like the brand to be. Part of their goal for growth is to move the brand closer to traditional luxury, to higher luxury, to what they call optimistic luxury, moving it away from the accessible luxury space. Every time they make moves in that direction, the success of Le Pliage pulls them back down closer to accessible luxury.

Kenny: Is there any disagreement in the family about (Le Pliage)? If they really went full bore with it, they could make all the profit that they need off of it, but there seems to be a tension there.

Avery: We definitely had some great conversations when I was in Paris about unleashing Le Pliage. A quick way to grow the company, if you want to achieve that double-digit growth, is to unleash some of the restrictions on Le Pliage. We could distribute Le Pliage more widely. We could license Le Pliage for other products. We talked about foldable shoes, or foldable T-shirts, or opening Le Pliage-only shops, and really unleashing this brand that has tremendous energy and excitement behind it. But every time we got too excited about that, we started to worry about what would be the impact of Le Pliage on Longchamp?

When you talk to many people outside of France, in particular, about Longchamp, they talk about Le Pliage. I think the challenge for the brand is keeping Le Pliage going and leveraging its strength and excitement, but really refocusing customers’ attention on the core Longchamp brand and its leather handbag collection and other goods.

Kenny: You could almost have a two-tiered strategy where you’ve got the very exclusive Longchamp luxury products on one tier, and Le Pliage on a separate tier.

Avery: Right. Structurally, how does that work? Le Pliage benefits greatly from its association with the Longchamp brand. Longchamp benefits greatly from its association with Le Pliage. Any kind of separation starts to feel uncomfortable. Le Pliage also hurts Longchamp to a certain extent, and perhaps Longchamp hurts Le Pliage to a certain extent. The degree of separation, how much separation is appropriate, is really the strategic struggle that the team is working through.

Kenny: I thought it was very interesting that they had started to move into adjacent areas. I’m thinking about fashion in particular and the way that that happened.

Avery: This really came out of a dilemma that Sophie noticed as she was merchandising Longchamp’s flagship stores. These are stores owned by the company. She felt, as she was merchandising them, that they felt lifeless, that they felt flat, that the shelves of handbags, and leather goods, and luggage were lacking a vitality that would make them more appealing. She wanted mannequins in the store, and she wanted mannequins to be able to wear clothing and present a full Longchamp lifestyle, so she dressed the mannequins, and that’s how the original ready-to-wear and shoe collections came into being.

Kenny: You can buy a whole matching ensemble, clothing, shoes, accessories.

Avery: Yes. Women’s ready-to-wear shoes. A lot of it focused on leather, but not necessarily. Presenting a full look for the collection so that a woman could imagine herself in a Longchamp lifestyle.

Kenny: What about the guys? There’s nothing for the guys at Longchamp?

“I think they continue to struggle with the opportunities and challenges that are presented in the case”

Avery: Actually, there’s so much for men at Longchamp. Longchamp offers a full selection of men’s travel luggage, briefcases, wallets, small leather goods.

Kenny: You don’t have to give anything away, but any insights that you can share (about the case)?

Avery: I think they continue to struggle with the opportunities and challenges that are presented in the case. They have decided to keep Le Pliage within the Longchamp brand family, but they have extended the brand upwards with two exciting leather products, Le Pliage Heritage and Le Pliage Cuir. Cuir is a foldable leather version of Le Pliage, priced much higher. Heritage is a top-of-the-line, high priced leather handbag that has the same silhouette as Le Pliage. What they’re trying to do is stretch the meaning of the Le Pliage brand into those higher price points, and more importantly, into leather making and the quality of leather craftsmanship.

Kenny: I should point out that we’re recording this just shorty after Michael Kors announced that they’re closing numerous stores in the US, so it’s clearly a very competitive space and continues to be tumultuous.

Avery: Accessible luxury is growing rapidly as a category. It’s something that consumers are responding very positively to, but it’s often populated by brands that exhibit fad lifestyles. These are short-lived brands that shoot up in sales very, very, quickly, but also tend to fall hard when they fall out of favor. This is why Longchamp doesn’t want to be in this category. Longchamp is a brand for the ages. They want to be a brand that’s as relevant tomorrow as they are today. They are fighting any kind of fad lifecycle for their brand and trying to maintain it for the longer term.

Kenny: You can find the Longchamp case along with thousands of others in the HBS case collection at HBR.org. I’m your host, Brian Kenny, and you’ve been listening to Cold Call, the official podcast of Harvard Business School.

 Close

90,000 It-thing: Le Pliage bag by Longchamp

Today we offer to pay attention to one more famous it-bag. This time we decided to tell you about the creation of the Longchamp brand – a bag called Le Pliage, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. We observe the process of creating this thing, learn the most interesting facts from her “biography” and consider the results of the brand’s collaboration with renowned designers.

The tote bag was created by Philippe Cassegrain, the son of the founder of the Longchamp fashion house, Jean Cassegrain. To develop this model, he was inspired by a trip to Japan, in particular, by the origami technique. Hence, the straight lines and sharp corners, and the ability of the bag, made of durable nylon fabric and lined with leather, can easily fold to the size of a wallet.

Since the appearance of the first Le Pliage, the number of copies sold of this model has already exceeded 32 million.Now, according to the company, 10 bags of this type are sold every minute in the world: impressive, isn’t it?

Over the years, Le Pliage has acquired new versions, but has always been faithful to its unique design. Among the most recognizable elements are the trapezoidal shape, zip fastening, pointed corners in the form of characteristic “ears”, two handles, a folding leather clasp and a new original line of colors every season.

In 2012, the fashion house reimagined its iconic model and launched the Le Pliage Cuir line, featuring handbags made from durable but soft and flexible enough leather.Interestingly, the leather bag folds easily, just like the nylon version, and when you unfold it, not a single crease should remain on the leather.

Following the successful launch of this line, the brand presents another updated model – Le Pliage Heritage, which was created especially for the 20th anniversary of the original version. The recognizable trapezoid shape remains, but has been reinterpreted in a new graphic silhouette.

Alexa Chung in Le Pliage Heritage ad

As noted by the creators of Le Pliage Heritage, the production of each bag takes at least four hours.It all starts with a careful selection of the right kind of leather, then the process of cutting and sewing starts, followed by the stages of sewing, painting and assembly.

Let us add that currently Longchamp fans have the opportunity to personalize their bag – both the classic version of Le Pliage and the leather Le Pliage Cuir. Those who are willing to pay for the manufacture of a unique bag are invited to choose the size, color of the bag, its details, inner lining, and also decorate the finished item with their own initials applied by embossing or perforation.

Fashion House not only regularly replenishes the line with new colors, but also decorates bags with original prints. Moreover, artists who are famous for their out-of-the-box thinking are involved in their development: we are talking about the brand’s collaborations with designers Mary Katrantzu and Jeremy Scott, artist Tracey Emin.

Design by Tracey Emin

Jeremy Scott has been collaborating with the brand on a regular basis since 2006. Thanks to the flight of his imagination, the most incredible prints come to life on Le Pliage bags: there was a pink poodle, tire marks, multi-colored pills, and even a computer keyboard that adorned the bag. What can you say, the imagination of this designer can only be envied!

Le Pliage by Jeremy Scott

The Greek woman Mary Katranzu, working with Longchamp, presented her fantasies on the theme “Meeting of East and West”. Prints from a kaleidoscope of orchids and lanterns soaring up against the background of a blue sky, sunbeams and fans, floral patterns – these are what Mary decided to make the bags entrusted to her. Designer says:

What I love about these bags is that simplicity and practicality make Le Pliage the perfect canvas for creation.

Le Pliage by Mary Katranzu

In addition, Kate Moss, with whom Longchamp has been collaborating since 2006, contributed to the design.The top model starred in advertising campaigns for the brand and acted as a designer herself. Now the face of the Le Pliage line is her compatriot Alexa Chung.

Alexa Chang

Advertising filming

Ellie Fenning

Coco Rocha

The Longchamp Foldable Bag Phenomenon | Blogs

Foldable bag pliage and the flying horse logo are perhaps two things that make any fashionista from Paris to Tokyo think of the Longchamp . Despite the fact that the brand was born in the late 1940s, its active invasion of the market took place in the 1960s and 1970s – it was then that a completely simple and convenient design of the bag appeared among Longchamp luggage and various leather goods, which has now become not only a symbol of the house and affordable luxury, but also one of the objects leaving Paris as a souvenir along with key chains in the form of the Eiffel Tower.

According to the statistics of the brand, the bag pliage is sold in the world every 15 seconds! You can meet her in the wardrobe of Kate Moss, Coco Rocha and Alexa Chang , as well as a couple of million schoolgirls and bourgeois Parisian grandmothers.How did it happen that a seemingly simple bag model became so popular in a variety of environments? The reason is just versatility. The new pliage appears every season and has already been released in an unthinkable number of colors, fabrics, with and without prints, within the framework of collaborations and simply in its most basic version, which is also sold by a mass of fakes in the metro of the fashionable capital. The trapezoidal shape turned out to be quite convenient: in addition to the basic set of things for every day, you can push shoes to the exit, an iPad and whatever comes to mind.You can always roll up the basic fabric one and take it with you in case of unplanned purchases, if during your lunch break you decide to go through discounts, and you don’t want to shine the bags in the office at all.

The boom in pliage bags, despite 20 years of history, begins in 2006 when Jeremy Scott brings a street fashion aesthetic to Longchamp and refreshes the brand somewhat. Since then, the bag has been endlessly replicated and even presented to all guests at the brand’s shows.At some point, she also has the possibility of personal design. It is difficult to imagine what else can be done with this model. However, this season, Le Pliage Héritage appears on the shelves of hundreds of Longchamp boutiques this season. The usual design, the most convenient size, the ability to carry it on the shoulder, and most importantly – the excellent performance of leather in several very “tasty” colors. And again, pliage stands out in the autumn bows of stars and top models, and we no longer remember about grandmothers and high school students.

Longchamp Fashion Brand Success Story

Longchamp is a French brand founded in 1948 that specializes in the production of accessories and luggage. The brand also produces women’s clothing and footwear. Longchamp was founded by Jean Cassegrain in Paris.

And it all started with the production of smoking accessories in the 1940s. It was at that time that Jean Cassegrain inherited a small tobacco shop from his father. In 1948 Jean Cassegrain registered the Jean Cassegrain et Compagnie brand.Talented artisans hired by him made smoking accessories with leather decor.

Jean Cassegrain creates his own design – a leather-bound smoking pipe. At that time it was a popular product, the brand’s products were in demand.

In 1955 , the brand began to expand. Now, in addition to leather cases for smoking pipes, the store could buy wonderful suitcases or travel bags for the same purposes. The brand has serious customers, and Jean Cassegrain opens the first factory in Segre.

The founder of the company loved equestrianism, and therefore the horse racing, which took place in the Bois de Boulogne at the Longchamp racetrack.

In the XIX – XX centuries. horse racing attracted the attention of bohemians and aristocrats. Crowds of people have always gathered here, such events did not go unnoticed. Horse racing at the Longchamp racetrack has been described in literary works and in painting, for example, by E. Zola and E. Degas. The first race took place on April 27, 1857, was attended by the Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie.The best horses took part in the races that day.

Today the entire territory of the hippodrome is protected by the state. Something has changed in the buildings, new stands and buildings have appeared, but in general everything is preserved. So, it is to this racetrack that the Longchamp brand owes its name.

Jean Cassegrain, despite the increased popularity of his brand, changed its name to Longchamp. The logo of the brand is the image of a jockey galloping on a horse.

Five years later, in the 1960s, the brand began to produce suitcases and briefcases, travel bags and wallets, the materials of which were leather and nylon.All goods were quickly sold out. The company has firmly established itself in the global market. Women’s handbags and travel bags have won the loudest fame.

For just over 20 years, Jean Cassegrain ran his successful business. In 1972 he was gone. From that moment on, the business of his father was continued by Philip Cassegrain.

30 years after its founding, the company stopped producing tobacco and smoking accessories. Philippe Cassegrain completely switched to the manufacture of bags and suitcases. In 1988, the monobrand Longchamp boutique was opened in Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris.In this decade, one after another, the company opened boutiques in department stores around the world.

In 1993, Longchamp introduced the Le Pliage women’s foldable bag, which has become an iconic item for the brand.

In 2006 Longchamp launched a line of women’s ready-to-wear. From that moment on, Philippe Cassegrain’s daughter, Sophie Delafontaine, became the creative director of the brand.

“I’m sure every bag is created to be an it-bag. At the very least, I put the same amount of energy and pleasure into the Longchamp lines, ”says Sophie Delafontaine.

In 2006, opened a flagship boutique in Soho, New York. And in the same year, an online store was launched.

Since 2012 the brand has been producing women’s shoes: sandals, pumps and sandals.

The Longchamp brand has collaborated with many designers. For example, since 2006, American designer Jeremy Scott has been participating in collaborations, developing the design of the Longchamp Le Pliage bags, in 2007 he created two models of the Le Pliage bag – with the image of a poodle and a gold bank card, in 2009 – bags decorated with images of medals.

No matter what ideas Jeremy Scott is inspired by! In 2011, pill-print bags hit the market, and in 2012, the Jeremy Scott for Longchamp, a capsule collection of bags inspired by the computer keyboard, was launched. For spring / summer 2013 Jeremy Scott has again developed two new bag models – Longchamp Le Pliage bags with a parcel print and with the image of the sea, sun, beach and the words “Greetings from Paradise. The land of Sunshine “-” Greetings from paradise – the land of sunshine. “

In 2012 Mary Katranzu, the famous designer and Queen of Print, developed the design of bags on the theme “Meeting of East and West”. The prints on the bags united the West and the East. They consisted of Japanese landscapes with dragons and orchids, lanterns, flowers, Chinese umbrellas, and images of the facade and front staircase of Carnegie Hall.

The faces of advertising campaigns for accessories were models Kate Moss, Emily DiDonato, Coco Rocha and many others.

Since 2006, has started a partnership with Kate Moss.The supermodel began to take part in the creation of collections of accessories, and she did it well.

Brand fans include Brad Pitt, Carla Bruni, Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman, Diane Kruger, Kate Moss, Jessica Alba, Anne Hathaway, Claudia Schiffer and many other celebrities.

Today, the Longchamp brand is known not only for its leather goods, but also for the gorgeous women’s clothing that women of all ages can wear. And it all started with a tobacco shop and smoking pipes.The brand remains a family business.

The president of the company is Philippe Cassegrain, and the creative director is his daughter Sophie Delafontaine.

In 2018, Longchamp celebrated their 70th anniversary.

90,000 From a pipe to a fashionable bag: the story of Longchamp

/epochtimes.ru/ ―New York. “That was the founding of the company in 1948,” says Jean Cassgrain, director of the French company Longchamp, pointing to an old horse leather pipe.

He is a laconic man who does not like long speeches and has little free time, as he runs the family business – the vast empire of luxury goods made of leather – Longchamp. He can say very briefly and simply: “Do you want to buy a bag? Come to us! ”

The Epoch Times was able to interview him during a short visit to the brand’s New York boutique on Madison Avenue.

In addition to the branded colorful bags on the top floor of the store, there is a small exhibition of items from the era when tobacco smoking was considered a noble manner.

Cassgrain points to the cigarette cases, ashtrays, and antique horse-skin smoking pipes that were popular in the late 1940s. American soldiers stranded in Paris during World War II lined up to buy pipes produced by the company.

He said that his grandfather, who was also named Jean, opened the first store in 1940. He sold smoking accessories on the Grand Boulevard. In 1948, Jean Cassgrain founded his firm called Cassegrain et Compagnie.But since another company was already using the name Cassegrain, the goods were sold under the Longchamp brand, the name of the racecourse in Bois de Boulogne.

In 1955, a small family business expanded its range with leather goods: wallets and wallets for men, then in the 60s Longchamp began producing luggage bags in leather and nylon.

This year Longchamp celebrates the 20th anniversary of its most successful product, the Le Pliage handbag. Since its inception, 30 million units have been sold worldwide.

If you are waiting for the commuter train in Manhattan, you will surely stumble upon at least one woman with a Le Pliage bag in her hands. Although it comes in 12 colors, it will likely be beige or deep purple with brown leather trim.

Any fashion brands are often counterfeited, counterfeits can have a beautiful appearance, but are usually incomparable in quality with the original. In Europe and the United States, there are laws against counterfeiting luxury goods. But outside these countries, especially in China, chaos reigns in this regard.

“The problem with counterfeiting is that now is the 21st century and you can buy goods online. 5-10 years ago, you saw these counterfeit sellers in Manhattan. Now that’s gone, ”says Cassgrain. “These sites are mostly located in China and they ship their fakes directly from China.”

However, this does not bother Cassgrain, despite the fact that the company has its own production in China. He believes that branded luxury goods companies and counterfeiting firms are two different and non-overlapping worlds.

Apparently, this problem will not disappear in the near future, because the popularity of Le Pliage is not declining.

I asked a friend who is a big fan of these bags, what is special about this nylon bag with leather handles. She says it is very lightweight and surprisingly durable.

“You can put your laptop in there, so it’s very sturdy,” she says. She told how she once spilled coffee on a bag and decided to wash it, and it did not deteriorate after that.

I asked another fashionista friend if she liked this thing, but she gave a negative answer.She is the type of person who doesn’t like to be seen with an overly popular brand. The practicality of the bag did not look incredible in her eyes.

In 2012, the company launched the less recognizable Le Pliage Cuir line of bags. They resemble the legendary Le Pliage in shape, but are made from the skin of an unusual African animal that is “furry rather than curly and looks almost like a goat,” says Cassgrain. This leather is very pliable, so it can be folded without wrinkling, just like nylon, while being strong and durable.

These bags are available in fewer colors than their predecessors, eight, but they look very cute. Of course, there are models in dark purple and beige.

Jean Cassgrain Jr. is not less ambitious than his grandfather and father Philip Cassgrain. The company has recently expanded production again and is about to start producing footwear.

Referring to the success of his grandfather and father in setting up the first store on the Grand Boulevard, Cassgrain notes that “accessories for smokers were a tiny market.It’s good that they continued to develop. ” /epochtimes.ru/

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How to wear a Longchamp bag

For every modern woman, the right choice of image, the selection of each of its components and accessories is of great importance. In particular, great importance should be given to the choice of a bag. This product directly demonstrates the style of its owner, her taste preferences, her fashion sense and the ability to combine different things.

For true fashionistas, Longchamp bags will become a godsend. These are products of the famous French brand, which are worthy of finding their place in the arsenal of every lady.

An absolute must-have: the Longchamp handbag

The French brand appeared in the middle of the last millennium and was originally a company that sold smoking pipes. However, the founder’s son, Jacques, decided to diversify the assortment and came up with leather cases for products. Customers liked the new accessories, and soon interesting longchamp bags appeared on the shelves of the company’s stores.

The original Longchamp handbags conquered the hearts of women of that time. Their visiting card is a variety of forms and types, a large color assortment, a combination of classics and modern bold solutions. Today, longshamp bags are still popular. They are not cheap, but very high quality and stylish. Owning an original product means owning an item that will always be appreciated.

The most convenient thing is that there is no need to go to distant France for a stylish accessory.Residents of our country can buy longchamp bags in the BAG-IN online store, with the confidence that they will receive the original. After all, here customers are offered only high-quality branded products that came directly from the manufacturer, and not from dubious firms that produce replicas.

What can I wear a Longchamp bag with?

Before buying longchamp bags from the BAG-IN online store, you should think carefully about what to wear them with. After all, such a product should complement the image, or become its bright highlight.But at the same time, in both cases, harmony must be maintained so that the woman does not look ridiculous in the chosen image.

The Bag-In online store offers various models of leather and textile products. There are bags here that match outfits such as:

  • Business suits,
  • Cocktail Dresses,
  • Evening Dresses,
  • Casual clothes, etc.

Depending on personal preferences, you can pick up a spacious backpack, which is convenient for going to the office and for walking with children.

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