Longchamp began in the 1940’s when Jean Cassegrain, son of a tobacconist took over his father’s tobacco shop. He sought out the most talented leather craftmen in Paris and revolutionized the domain of tabacco accessories: he created the famous leather bound pipe clearly establishing its pedigree and gained his entry into the world of luxury goods with this future iconic object. In 1948, je expanded his collection and decided to set up his company specialized in accessories which he named “Jean Cassegrain & Compagnie”.
By 1955, it had expanded to include small leather goods, opening its first factory in Segré.
Longchamp’s international dimension was inscribed in its development strategy early on by Jean Cassegrain: thanks to the sale of its pipes in US Army PX stores, Longchamp products were distributed in 102 countries by the early 1960’s.
By the 1970s, Longchamp opened its first boutiques in Hong Kong and Japan, and became known for its lightweight travel goods. During the 70′s, Longchamp became international leaders in the luxury leather industry, with their range of handbags becoming the ultimate symbol of French elegance.
Debuting in 1993, the collection of foldable travel bags “Le Pliage” became the house’s best selling design. A canvas and leather bag available in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes, Longchamp has sold over 12 million Pliage bags worldwide.
In 1980, the founder’s son and current company president, Philippe Cassegrain took the helm and began expanding its retail and factory locations into Belgium and Germany.
Beyond luggage and accessories, Longchamp has more recently – in 2006 – decided to expand its field for investigations to women’s ready-to-wear. This new mission has been assigned to Philippe Cassegrain’s daughter, Sophie Delafontaine. The line designed under her direction has inherited all the emblematic details of the brand, such as adjustment tabs or rivets, which come to their own on materials borrowed from leather goods. Here it’s the clothes that accessorize the bag.
Today, in addition to its heritage as a leather goods firm, Longchamp has cultivated a devoted following and brand that is now known for its designs. Venturing into partnerships with notable designers, artists and celebrities has seen the likes of Thomas Heatherwick design Longchamp’s SoHo boutique, and Tracey Emin and model Kate Moss create special collections.