Longchamp: the fine leather brand, made in France
65 years of quality and tradition. Longchamp has remained a French brand par excellence. A success story that all started with...pipes.
World War II was over. The Allied troops returned home and Paris was at peace once again. Jean Cassegrain’s tobacconist “Au Sultan” was doing good business: almost everyone smoked at that time and Jean had a steady supply of pipes from the Jura region. An excellent businessman, he eventually came up with his own design for a pipe in a leather sheath.
The accessory became instantly popular, and not only in Paris. American military commanders were apparently so pleased with the graceful little things that Jean was able to deliver them to the army stores on U.S. military bases. With the arrival of the Cold War, U.S. military bases expanded all over the world, and the soldiers became unwitting brand envoys.
Jean Cassegrain saw the potential in the product and decided to create his own brand. Jean loved horses and horse racing, and close by was the famous Parisian racecourse Longchamp.
Next to the racecourse was one of the few surviving windmills at that time, symbolic to Jean because “Cassegrain” literally means “grain grinder”. The proximity of the two determined the choice in favor of Longchamp. As a result, the artist Turenne Chevalero created an image of a flying horse with a jockey, which became the lasting emblem of the new brand.
Bags and airplanes
In the 20th century the number of travelers increased. By this time the company was producing not only leather pipes, but also a wide range of leather accessories designed for travellers like passport covers or wallets.
The critical moment for Longchamp to create their own line of luggage had arrived. In 1970, the company released their first women’s handbag line LM, which immediately gained popularity in Japan. Prior to that, no French brand had achieved such success in the country. This was followed by the equally popular Derby line.
the Pliage model
But the undisputed breakthrough came with the Pliage model, created by Philip Cassegrain in 1993. This famous bag-transformer immediately became a sales hit and still remains the best-selling model of the brand.
Made of durable nylon with leather handles, in its folded position the bag is no larger than a purse, but when expanded becomes an invaluable companion to the modern woman.
Over time, Longchamp has been working to maintain a fresh image - Kate Moss, who participated in one of Longchamp’s advertising campaigns, was so inspired by the values of the brand that she decided to try her hand as a designer, creating a Kate Moss line.
Innovation and tradition go hand in hand as 100% of the share capital is owned by the Cassegrain family. The wife of the president and director of boutiques, Michel Cassegrain, still personally serves clients every day in the flagship boutique on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, Paris.