Every lady who can call herself “a Bag addict”, knows Longchamp. This company is 62 years old (in 2010) and was created by a French gentleman Jean Cassegrain.
Longchamp history is one of the most amazing history of the leather industry. Everybody would imagine that Jean Cassegrain was a dealer in fine leather goods. Not at all ! Jean Cassegrain was a newsdealer and a tobacco dealer. And after the World War II, he found himself with a huge amount of pipes in stock ; Apparently, pipes were the soldiers’ favorite. That’s how he got the idea to create his first line of leather covered pipes. With such a success, he first created “Jean Cassegrain & Compagnie”, then transformed it into “Longchamp”, in reference to one of the last windmills in Paris, located near the racetrack of Longchamp. Longchamp is very well known in France for its equestrian races. As a result, the logo of Longchamp is a horse.
One of the most popular lines of Longchamp is the Pliage collection. Pliage means “folding”. This whole collection is made in canvas, and can be folded in a very small and convenient traveling size when not is use. The bag itself is beautiful and practical, and its price is very reasonable. This product initially was very successful and still maintains its worldwide success.
The LM line was also very famous during the 1970’s and 80’s. It was launched in the early 1970’s in the Japanese market. The original bag was made with calfskin leather that was silk-screened with the vintage horse and belt criss-cross logo. I remember several women at my father’s car accident law firm carried these bags. I so wanted a Longchamp bag when I grew up! Longchamp discontinued this collection in the 1980’s, but the Longchamp Tote – LM is back in the new millennium with a new design still featuring horses on the leather. They can be purchased at higher end stores such as Bloomingdale’s. It still is a favorite hand bag for the new generation of car accident lawyers at my father’s firm. These high power women lawyers tend to prefer the prestigious and expensive Longchamp Tote – LM Cuir Medium, while the assistants and para legals seem to prefer the less expensive Longchamp Tote – LM Metal Medium Shoulder. These bags are so roomy they can even carry legal briefs when one of the lawyers is in court ligating for one of their car accident clients.
Today, Longchamp represents the know-how in fine leather goods. The advertising campaign has featured well-known French figures like Alice Taglioni, French actress, Laure Manaudou, French Olympic, World and European champion swimmer, and more recently, Super Model Kate Moss who has designed a handbag collection with the brand’s artistic director Sophie Delafontaine.
Jean Cassegrain owned a tobacco shop & created his company “Jean Cassegrain et Compagnie” in 1948 to expand the distribution of leather items created for smokers. The items had to be marketed under the name of a racetrack in Bois de Boulogne “Longchamp” because other party already used the name Cassegrain. in 55 the company expanded into small leather goods such as coin pouches & wallets for men. In the 60’s Longchamp offered nylon & leather luggage. In 1971 the first ladies handbag was released by the brand. That was the dawn of a new era. The company began moving focus from the smoking items into the luggage & bags. In 78 the items sold for smokers disappeared altogether. After Philippe Cassegrain took over operations when his father passed away & in 1988 Longchamp opened the first boutique. They continued to open a chain of boutiques as well as partnering with additional distributers for the bags, such as department stores & airport shops.