Anyone who has ever taken a plane has probably spotted the famous foldable Longchamp nylon tote in the duty free zone. It’s a staple! You may be surprised, however, by the fascinating story behind how these bags rose the ranks to the status of perfect travel companion.
Longchamp is first and foremost a French leather goods company, founded in Paris by Jean Cassegrain in 1948. In the 1960s, the sudden surge in air traffic became a source of inspiration to the Cassegrain family. When President de Gaulle inaugurated Orly Sud Airport in 1961, it was already bustling with travellers. Jean Cassegrain decided to open a shop there to sell his luggage line. At the time, selling luggage in an airport was considered a novelty—who would leave on a trip without their suitcase? As the years passed, people began to associate Longchamp with travel and aviation.
One of Longchamp’s important contributions to leatherwork was the incorporation of nylon, until then used only for military purposes, to create lighter bags. Longchamp unveiled a new line of nylon bags that would have a major impact on the company’s future. Lighter and more flexible than other contemporary models, Le Pliage became the company’s most iconic model. It was inspired by the Japanese art of origami, with the unique feature of being able to fold into itself for easy storage. It is usually a vibrant colour and has handles made from Russian leather. Le Pliage is Longchamp’s greatest success and the world’s top-selling bag.
Since its inception, Longchamp has stood for traditional craftsmanship and high-quality materials in bag design. Most of the hides it uses to manufacture its bags come from France, but some are also sourced from Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and South America. Some pieces are embossed with the brand logo as a styling detail. Each type of leather requires a different temperature and amount of force to sharply define the embossing; this is done manually. The leather is selected by grain, and only leathers that exhibit the same grain are used together, to ensure that each final product is seamless.
The collection of frames launched last Fall displays the same attention to detail, elegance, and luxury. The models boast a smart design concept in a palette of timeless colours, exuding classic style. We find once again the brand’s signature details, such as embossing on the temples, metallic finishes on the end pieces and hinges, the equestrian logo, and soft, feminine shapes.