Hyde Park Corner in Johannesburg is set to welcome a number of leading international brands in November 2014. These include well-known French leather goods and accessories manufacturer Longchamp.
Founded in 1948 by Jean Cassegrain, Longchamp House is still owned and managed by the family. The company is known for its leather and canvas handbags, travel items, and numerous fashion accessories. Today, the brand is present all over the world through more than 236 boutiques and a total of more than 1,800 stores in about 100 countries.
Longchamp’s tradition of excellence dates back to the time when American servicemen in Paris after the Second World War would stand in line to buy its leather-covered pipes, each one a symbol of French craftsmanship and savoir-faire. As Longchamp moved into luggage and city bags, its expertise in selecting the best skins became even more important.
Today, the company partners with leading tanneries in Europe and beyond to source the quality and variety of leathers it requires – skins that are smooth or finely grained, firm or supple to the touch, fine natural materials that will acquire still more beauty and personality over time. Crafted by the skilled hands of Longchamp artisans into new, contemporary designs every season, these leathers give Longchamp bags their unique character.
Works of art
Longchamp often turns to designers and artists who propose special versions of their bags and luggage, sometimes sold in limited editions. In 1971 Serge Mendjisky added leather patchwork to bags. In 2004 Thomas Heatherwick invented the ‘zip bag’, a bag constructed around a long zipper. Kate Moss, the brand’s icon since 2006, also became a bag designer in 2010 with the launch of the first Kate Moss for Longchamp collection.
Today, the company’s creations have found favour with many silver screen celebrities. American actresses Katie Holmes, Jessica Alba, January Jones and the model Kendall Jenner have all been spotted recently wearing the brand new Le Pliage Héritage from the Longchamp Autumn 2014 collection. Emmy Rossum, Eva Mendes and Alexa Chung are among other big fans of the new Longchamp it-bag of the season.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Le Pliage handbag. Inspired by the Japanese art of origami, the simple, beautifully ingenious Le Pliage has acquired worldwide status. The line is available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Customers can look forward to the folded bag in both nylon and leather now. This is surely one of the it-bags of the season.