Bet­ter To­gether

Longchamp artis­tic di­rec­tor So­phie De­la­fontaine gives a pre­view of her new launches and also talks de­signer col­lab­o­ra­tions

Prestige (Singapore) - - FASHION - Jacquie ang

in town to un­veil Longchamp’s spank­ing new bou­tique in The Shoppes at Ma­rina Bay Sands, So­phie De­la­fontaine is in a buoy­ant mood. The brand’s third store in Sin­ga­pore is also the first in Asi­aPa­cific to have a ded­i­cated en­trance for its men’s sec­tion.

“This is an op­por­tu­nity for us to re­fo­cus on the men’s cat­e­gory and in­tro­duce more items,” says De­la­fontaine, the brand’s artis­tic di­rec­tor who joined the fam­ily business in 1995. “Af­ter all, Longchamp started out with men’s prod­ucts in 1948 when my fa­ther, Jean Cassegrain, took over my grand­fa­ther’s to­bacco shop and cre­ated leather sheaths for cig­a­rette cases and pipes, which later de­vel­oped into small leather goods and lug­gages.”

For the up­com­ing Au­tumn/win­ter 2016, she will in­tro­duce a line of cot­ton and gabar­dine bags — the Cricket col­lec­tion — dis­tin­guished with sporty stripes. The sea­son will also de­but men’s ten­nis shoes that will come in two dif­fer­ent ma­te­rial com­bi­na­tions.

Also much an­tic­i­pated are the next-gen it­er­a­tions for Le Pliage, the em­blem­atic fold­able ev­ery­day bag in­spired by the Ja­panese art of origami. The brain­child of De­la­fontaine’s fa­ther, the roomy car­ryall is made of ny­lon, which makes it light yet ro­bust as a travel es­sen­tial. In 2012, the trape­zoidal tote was re­cast in leather for ev­ery­day el­e­gance. When the beloved bag turned 20 two years later, it gained fresh grown-up ap­peal in a struc­tured take, chris­tened Le Pliage Her­itage. Come July 14, the new Le Pliage Co­carde marks Bastille Day with France’s na­tional colours,

The bag stays con­stantly rel­e­vant, thanks to the string of de­signer col­lab­o­ra­tions De­la­fontaine spear­heads in an ef­fort to launch lim­ited edi­tion cov­etibles. Among the part­ner­ships, Jeremy Scott’s has been the long­est and he marked the 10th an­niver­sary of their col­lab­o­ra­tion with a com­mem­o­ra­tive lim­ited edi­tion “Greet­ings from Hol­ly­wood” post­card de­sign, a re­visit to 2012’s “Greet­ings from Par­adise” edi­tion.

“When I dis­cover the work of an artist, I want to get into his uni­verse — who they are, where they work, how they work — so col­lab­o­ra­tions let me meet these tal­ented peo­ple and work with them. Longchamp also gets a fresh look and a new spirit,” she ex­plains.

De­la­fontaine was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed by the work of Amer­i­can artist Sarah Mor­ris. The math­e­mat­ics that go be­hind what ap­pear to be sim­ple geo­met­ric shapes, she says, mir­rors the ac­tual com­plex­ity of Le Pliage. “It takes hun­dreds of steps to pro­duce one bag and many parts are still made by hand, such as paint­ing the trim­mings of han­dles and flaps. The leather is cut by hand, while ny­lon is folded by hand be­fore they are sewn,” De­la­fontaine re­veals.

How­ever, not ev­ery col­lab­o­ra­tion ends in a phys­i­cal prod­uct, as in the case of Alexa Chung, who also flew in for the bou­tique open­ing. The Bri­tish style icon has fronted Longchamp’s ad cam­paigns for the past five sea­sons, with no cap­sule col­lec­tion or spe­cial ac­ces­sory in sight. “I am col­lab­o­rat­ing with Alexa but in a dif­fer­ent way — the prod­uct is the video and pic­tures for the ad cam­paign. You do not need to have a prod­uct to ex­press a brand.”

Le Pliage Co­carde

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