Longchamp’s wink-worthy collaborations with Jeremy Scott have become a decade-long statement for the French leather goods house.
There was a moment 10 years ago when drab airport conveyor belts became instantly chic. Los Angeles fashion designer Jeremy Scott—known for the cheeky prints and cool-kid graphics that pervade both his eponymous line and the looks he devises as creative director at Moschino—created travel bags for Longchamp that looked like wooden crates emblazoned with the words “Fragile” and “This is not your bag.” The collaboration sparked an ongoing partnership—10 years and counting—between Scott and the French artistic director Sophie Delafontaine and her brother, CEO Jean Cassegrain. “It’s probably a world record in fashion,” says Cassegrain, who, along with Delafontaine, are the latest family members to lead the house founded in 1948 by their grandfather, who sold leather-covered pipes and smoking accoutrements on Paris’ Boulevard Poissonnière.
Indeed, twice a year, Longchamp craftspeople produce leather-trimmed canvas Le Pliage bags in prints from Scott’s current collection. “Each bag captures my mood and the mood of the collection,” says Scott. Naturally, there have been some wild creations, including the grotesquely cool Madballs pattern (ghoulish faces modeled after toy rubber balls popular in the 1980s) of Fall 2014, as well as an oversize gold card image (Fall 2008) and this fall’s Humpty Dumpty print. “Opening a file sent from Jeremy is like opening a gift,” says Delafontaine. “You can’t imagine what it will be.” The limited-edition bags are produced as presents for guests at Scott’s fashion shows and later available in Longchamp boutiques and online.
For Longchamp, the 10-year partnership with Scott has also marked a period of company expansion. Delafontaine commissioned the initial travel bags from Scott for the brand’s SoHo boutique in 2005. “The store is so huge—there was much more space than we had in our other shops,” she says. Delafontaine, who trained at Paris’ ESMOD fashion school, also designed a capsule collection of women’s jackets and coats to fill the SoHo space, and that has grown into a full-fledged women’s ready-to-wear line, followed by women’s shoes. All were fodder for Longchamp’s celebration of the past decade at a party staged inside the John Lautner-designed Sheats-Goldstein residence in Beverly Hills this past fall. “This is my favorite house in the world,” says Scott. “It’s the house that made me want to move to L.A. My place [also by Lautner] is a tiny version of this. There’s a chic and futuristic feel to it, and I wanted to share what I love of L.A. with everyone.” And so he did. us.longchamp.com. • ELIZABETH VARNELL