INTERVIEW | Creative Director at Longchamp: I Draw Inspiration from Parisian Women

March 12,2021

Founded in Paris in 1948, Longchamp is one of the very few family businesses in the luxury industry that still operates independently, and “innovation” has always been a key word in the family's heritage.

Creative Director Sophie Delafontaine (pictured below), from the third generation of the founding family, was recently interviewed by Luxe.CO after the Autumn/Winter 2021 presentation, where she shared her inspirations as a “face of the brand” as well as her “behind the scenes” stories about the brand’s heritage and innovation.

As she told us, “I grew up in Paris and the everyday life of Parisian women has always been my biggest creative inspiration.”


“Parisian women have been my main creative inspiration.”

“Longchamp launched its ready-to-wear line in 2006, starting with capsule collections, and stock-keeping units increased over time,” Delafontaine told Luxe.CO.

Over the past few decades, Longchamp has been iterating on itself and expanding its possibilities based on its DNA. Today, Longchamp has become an all-round premium lifestyle brand.

“I think that ready-to-wear, bags and other accessories complement each other, not just because they work together to create a complete look, but because they are a complete interpretation of a woman's attitude and mindset in her daily work and life.”

This season's collection is inspired by the horse logo drawn for the brand by French illustrator Turenne Chevallereau, symbolizing the modern woman's positive outlook on life. The show was held at the prestigious Battesti hippodrome in Paris.

In the interview, Delafontaine used three words/phrases to describe her summary of this season’s style: very Paris, optimistic and warm.

To bring the authentic Parisian lifestyle represented by Longchamp to life, the brand launched an eight-minute concept film, Très Paris, at the end of last year.

Stepping away from the need to make conventional impressions, the film's realistic portrayal of Paris and Parisian women, coupled with the French soundtrack “Il est cinq heures, Paris s'éveille (At five in the morning, Paris is waking up),” creates a strong emotional resonance with the audience.

In addition, Delafontaine remarked that French interior design master Pierre Paulin’s work is another important inspiration for this season. The leather quilting elements used in her handbags and ready-to-wear garments this season echo the classic design of the Pierre Paulin sofa.

Pictured above: Sofas designed for Ralph Pucci by Pierre Paulin

"Innovation", a keyword that has been passed down for over 70 years

Delafontaine gives credit to the people behind the scenes in the family workshops who have been working for decades to make their shows a success. “The craftsmen in our workshops are the backbone of my creativity,” she says.

In recent years, Longchamp has been exploring more possibilities for innovation in three directions: sustainability, crossover collaborations and digitization.

-- From eco-friendly custom collections to sustainable strategies

Delafontaine told Luxe.CO that “the brand's goal is to achieve a sustainable line that uses 100% recycled nylon by 2022. But for me, the most important point of sustainable fashion is product quality. Extending the life cycle of the products is never as simple as launching a sustainable collection.”

In late 2020, the brand launched Green District, a collection of eco-friendly bags made from recycled nylon yarn, and Longchamp was selected as one of the best examples of sustainable fashion by Luxe.CO.

In addition to the use of sustainable materials, Delafontaine told us that the craftsmen in the family workshop always follow the principle of respecting the raw materials, making the best possible use of them, and not using rare animals for leather.

-- Trendy brands gaining popularity, art, animation, diversified cooperation

In recent years, Longchamp has collaborated extensively with creative people from different countries and cultures to refresh the brand’s image in the minds of young people.

Longchamp announced a Longchamp x EU, a co-branded collection with EU, a trendy brand founded by Edison Chen and Kybum Lee (a former designer at Undefeated). Longchamp, the elegant French luxury brand, thus appeared alongside a street culture brand.

In fact, Longchamp's crossovers can be traced back to the 1970s when it launched a limited-edition co-branded bag with Russian artist Serge Mendjisky. Since then, it has continued to explore collaborations in art and creative fields.

In 2020, Longchamp once again tried to break the boundaries by crossing over the leader in digital animation, Pokémon, to continue to win the hearts of Generation Z.

-- Being open to the digital future of fashion

In the post-pandemic era, fashion luxury brands are engaged in a heated discussion about the future of fashion shows. The interweaving of digital and physical spaces, and the inclusion of more digital elements in fashion shows, seem to be distinct trends. Through live broadcast to a wide range of audiences around the world, more groups have the opportunity to immerse themselves in fascinating experiences, and brands can cultivate a broad “community awareness”.

Digitization undoubtedly best represents “Chinese speed” in the global luxury industry. Longchamp, which entered the Chinese market in 2006, is a witness to this digitization and has been trying to integrate into the digital environment for a long time.

“As for the format of the next season, it is unknown at this point and I will always be open to any new project. Whether it's a digital or traditional show, I'm looking forward to it all,”Delafontaine concluded.

| Photo Credit: Longchamp

| By Elisa, Liu Jun


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