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Longchamp is a French luxury leather goods company founded in Paris in 1948 by Jean Cassegrain. The Longchamp House is still owned and managed by the family. The company is primarily known for its leather and canvas handbags, its travel items, and numerous fashion accessories.

The brand is present all over the world through more than 236 boutiques and a total of more than 1,800 stores in some hundred countries.

History

Owner of a tobacco shop since 1940, Jean Cassegrain created his company (Jean Cassegrain et Compagnie) in 1948 to broaden the distribution of his leather-covered items for smokers. However, the products were marketed under the Longchamp brand, the name of the racetrack in theBois de Boulogne, since another company was already using the name Cassegrain. In 1955 the small family business extended its activity to small leather goods (wallets and pouches for men), then in the 1960s, Longchamp offered leather and nylon fabric luggage.

In 1971 the brand launched its first handbag for women. Little by little, the company began focusing on leather goods and luggage, and in 1978 the items for smokers disappeared from the catalogue.

After the death of the founder Jean Cassegrain in 1972, then of his wife Renée in 1980, management of the company was taken over by their son Philippe Cassegrain.

In 1988, Longchamp opened its first dedicated boutique inParisat 390 rue Saint-Honoré. The brand developed a network of mono-brand boutiques in addition to the existing distributors (department stores and airport shops). In 1993, Philippe Cassegrain and Isabelle Guyon designed Le Pliage, a nylon fabric tote bag whose handles and flap are made of leather and that folds so that it can be stored flat. The bag's simple shape and the wide choice of colors offered (and renewed in part each season) made it the brand's most successful product.

In 1999 theParisboutique moved to 404 rue Saint-Honoré to offer a larger sales floor. Later, the brand added Comité Colbert.

In 2006, Longchamp opened its American flagship store in the SoHo district inNew York City. In 2011, Longchamp opened its new boutique inAsia, La Maison 8. This boutique, in the heart of the luxury shopping district of Hong Kong, is the brand’s second largest in the world (after theSoHolocation) with 400 square meters of floor space. In Fall 2011, La Maison sponsored the first Chinese tour of the Comédie-Française.

Longchamp is managed today by the 2nd and 3rd generations of the family:

Philippe Cassegrain, President

Michèle Cassegrain, Director of Boutiques

Jean Cassegrain, Chief Executive Officer

Sophie Delafontaine, Artistic Director

Olivier Cassegrain, DirectorUSABoutiques

Longchamp is distributed in some one hundred countries through a network of around 1,800 retail stores, company-owned boutiques and franchises, department store concessions, multi-brand fine leather goods dealers, airport shops and on-line sales. The group directly manages 236 Longchamp Boutiques through 18 distribution subsidiaries.Francerepresents around one-third of sales.

Workshops

Initially, Jean Cassegrain purchased items for smokers (particularly pipes) and had them covered with leather by Parisian craftsmen. Faced with the brand’s success, and to support the diversification of the products offered, he decided to create a workshop. Thus in 1959 Longchamp’s first workshop was founded inSegré. The production capacity increased regularly in Segré and through new facilities: Rémalard in 1969, Ernée in 1972, then during the 2000s Combrée,Château-Gontier and Montournais..

In 1982, the Cassegrain family decided to expand its manufacturing activities outside ofFranceby installing a factory on Mauritius, then, by setting up a production partnership with China, in 1997. In 2001, workshops were opened in Morocco and in Tunisia in order to increase the brand’s production capacity.These days, these countries account for one-third of production.

Creation and artistic collaborations

The artistic direction of the brand is handled by Sophie Delafontaine.

Longchamp often turns to designers and artists who propose special versions of their bags and luggage, sometimes sold in limited editions. Thus, in 1971 Serge Mendjisky added leather patchwork to bags. In 2004 Thomas Heatherwick invented the “zip bag,” a bag constructed around a long zipper. In 2004 and 2005Tracey Emin personalized luggage.

Jeremy Scott has regularly proposed special editions of the Pliage bag since 2006.

In 2008, to celebrate its sixtieth birthday, Longchamp reissued its LM collection originally only available inAsia, also offering a version illustrated byJean-Luc Moerman.

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.

In spring 2012, the brand launched a new all-leather version of its Pliage bag.

Since 2006, each season Longchamp has also offered a range of clothing and shoes for women.

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