Friday, 17 October 2014

Longchamp Le Pliage turns 20!

It's hard to believe that the infamous Longchamp Le Pliage bag is celebrating its 20th birthday! Last night, I popped down to the celebratory soiree (in association with Vogue) at the newly refurbished New Bond Street boutique to toast this milestone in style.

Amid cocktails (Elderflower cordials for me!), canapes and macarons, we listened to some of the history and heritage surrounding this iconic bag design.

A Voguette addresses the audience

Le Pliage - designed by Longchamp founder Jean Cassegrain's son Philippe - was orginally constructed in military-grade nylon fabric, and was inspired by the Japanese art form of Origami. The bag's design is constructed architecturally rather than just being manufactured in a simple manner.  During its inception, Longchamp's craftsmen needed to master the construction of Le Pliage - a process involving fifty different steps, whereas to achieve the bag's clever transformation - there are only four steps involved. The bag's changing shape and expandable volume are design features that bring to mind the iconic Akari Lamp, created by Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi in the early 1950s. Constructed of paper and bamboo, the lamp unfolds into a variety of geometric shapes.

The same is true of Le Pliage - which was initially offered as a tote bag in a variety of sizes to be used as shopping or travel bags.  Over the years however, the style has morphed into new incarnations, enabling Longchamp to create backpacks, handbags, briefcases and pouches.  Despite starting life constructed of durable nylon, Le Pliage has also been created in other materials and styles. In 2012, Longchamp launched a version in soft leather. When it launched, Le Pliage was offered in ten colourways - quite a coup for that time.  Nowadays, Longchamp offers semiannual collections - echoing the fashion world, in twelve hues - and to date, Le Pliage has been made in more than 150 colours! Also, since 2004, Longchamp has collaborated with artists and designers such as Tracey Emin, Jeremy Scott, Sarah Morris, Mary Katrantzou, Charles Anastase and Robert Wagt, to name just a few. Each of these creatives have  treated Le Pliage like a blank canvas - and made it a place for their unique self expression, always with unique results.

You and me, the customer and the fan, can also get artistic by personalising your own Le Pliage from start to finish, including the addition of a monogram, on the Longchamp website.

New for AW14: Longchamp Le Pliage Heritage
The latest reinvention of Le Pliage for AW14 is Le Pliage Heritage - a simple bag in the same trapezoid shape, but not meant to be folded. Last night's party gave all guests the opportunity to model their favourite bag from the AW14 Collection at the pop-up photobooth!

Le Pliage Photobooth

Me...nine months pregnant and modelling the limited edition Pliage Heritage Luxe in rose pattern
All in all a fun and informative evening celebrating the iconic Le Pliage bag! I am definitely a fan (or should that be addict?!) with a variety of different sized Le Pliage bags in several hues!

My Latest Le Pliage: Luggage sized in Shocking Pink - my hospital bag!
Are you a fan and customer of Le Pliage bags? Which are your favourite?

Source: Le Pliage by Longchamp Paris, Laure Verchere, Assouline 2014


Friday, 10 October 2014

Bathroom Beauties

I recently underwent a HUGE bathroom overhaul (post coming soon!), taking my bathroom from somewhere to get in and out of as quickly as possible to somewhere in the leagues of hotel luxury - somewhere I can quite happily while away hours spent pampering and preening (there probably won't be much time for that once the baby comes along!).

To celebrate the new bathroom I've been on the lookout for new bath and shower products and have discovered the most gorgeous smelling cleansing and moisturising duo from one of my favourite stores & Other Stories. It's the Moroccan Tea Body Wash and Body Lotion. 

Bathroom Beauties: Moroccan Tea Shower Gel & Body Lotion

About the scent, they say:
"Crisp spearmint and lemon with a hint of cardamom and orange flower are combined with clean notes of cedarwood and skin musks topped with a pinch of brown sugar."
I just think it's a really clean, fresh, musky smell that works all year round - and it's perfect for both sexes. The body wash (£5) is energising and perfect to wake you up during your morning shower, plus it comes in a simple, unfussy pump bottle and top it off is paraben free. The matching body lotion (£7) is lightweight yet extremely hydrating, and will help this elegant scent to linger long after your shower routine!

Also in the Moroccan Tea scent family you can get Body Scrub (£7), Body Souffle (£10), Hand Soap (£4), Mini Hand Cream (£4), Body Mist (£12) and Classic Soap (£4).

I urge you to pop into the store if you're in the Oxford Circus area of London to check out all the other fab bath, body and beauty products on offer at & Other Stories - they have many other scent families if Moroccan Tea doesn't sound like your cuppa tea! A close second favourite for me is Fig Fiction. Plus, if you keep your empty packaging and take into store, you'll get 10% off your next beauty purchase!

If you can't get to a store, have a browse online at & Other Stories, you can also order free samples of some of the bath products alongside your other shopping!
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