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


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