In a time when luxury brands vie for relevance, Longchamp, having built a lifetime of connections and partnerships across the globe, has crossed over into its 70th year with triple the successes. Founded in 1948 by Jean Cassegrain, the French leather goods icon is built upon a family legacy, presently helmed by the third generation of Cassegrain. Longchamp’s founding characteristics of adventure was honed from the start, when the family saw the potential to bring their crafted bags, accessories, pipes and briefcases – fondly recognised as Parisian novelties – around the world.
Launch the gallery to discover the milestones Longchamp secured in 7 decades.

Establishing a reputation

When Longchamp set up shop at boulevard Poissonnière, Paris, it was the place for well-heeled clientele, in search of luxury pipes sheathed in leather. Tourists roaming the Grands Boulevards, Parisians and American soldiers alike were drawn to the smoking accessories, which at the time, were at the height of fashion. In 1972, Jean’s son, Philippe, succeeded the business and made history creating the Le Pliage bag that is symbolic of Longchamp.

Factoring In diversity

Jean Cassegrain had an eye for opportunities and expansion. He created a complete range of accessories for women, complete with pipes, cigarette cases and ashtrays, modelled after Marlène Dietrich and her statement cigarette-holder. Jean was also obsessed with innovation, hiring the best craftspeople, opting for exotic leathers, and appearing at major events like the Paris Fair.

Building a family heirloom

Creation, quality, work and service – those 4 words summed up Longchamp’s mantras. Moved by Jean’s dedication, the Cassegrain family contributed in the activities of the maison. Jean's wife, Renèe, kept order, asissted by the children. This ensued the family element of the brand’s culture. Craftsmen, too, were initiated into the fold, weaving their loyalty through every stitch, cut and adornment of timeless leather goods.

See also: 8 Values Of Longchamp's Jean Cassegrain In Running A World-Famous Family Business

Inventing an identity

To steer its direction, Longchamp had to construct an identity unique to its essence. That’s how the galloping horse – the symbol of elegance – came to be its emblem. Jean was inspired by one of Paris’s last ‘mills’, the Longchamp racecourse, and played on his surname, seeing a link to the world of saddlery.

An international conquest

At age 16, Jean’s son, Philippe, embarked on a world tour with a suitcase of Longchamp samples. He penetrated South Africa, the Spanish islands, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, making new contacts, spreading Longchamp’s wings. Philippe steered the brand’s era of travel, and his father supplemented well-heeled nomads by setting up the first Longchamp boutique at the historical Orly Aud airport terminal.

Parisian excellence

Today, Longchamp’s art de vivre is lives on through third-generation member, Jean Cassegrain, expanding on iconic bags, travel accessories, and discerning ready-to-wear products. A household name in hundreds of countries with employees numbering upward 3,000, Jean’s unwavering vision strengthens Longchamp’s leading role in the industry, or in his words: “The spirit of a family, the splendour of Paris, exceptional leathers and craftsmanship, rooted in our history.”

See also: On the Champs-Élysées: Longchamp opens its largest store in Europe

Global family

Asserting its family ethos, Longchamp continues to expand its connections through workshop-schools. The maison launched an integrative Artwalk concept bringing artist innovation and its fêted know-how to world-class capitals like Paris and Tokyo. It's no wonder that Longchamp’s values of elegant luxury and renewed craftsmanship continue to thrive and fascinate its global fans.

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