PARIS — Should you take a backpack or will a belt bag do for the day? Thanks to the unfolding collaboration between Longchamp and Paris-based Belgian accessories designer Stéphanie D’heygere, a person won’t have to choose.
Riffing off a 2019 foldable poncho design she made for the French brand, D’heygere has expanded Longchamp’s versatile Le Pliage tote into a six-item capsule collection suitable for urban dwellers come rain or shine.
While not every item in the six-piece line can be transformed like the oversize tote and belt bag that both unfold into backpacks, D’heygere made sure to add the fun in functional.
An umbrella with a strap can be slung across the body, bandolier style. The poncho, a rain hat and trousers, easy to roll up and practical on the go, could well be streetwear or festival gear. All come in six colorways, from classics like navy and white to zestier choices, like fuchsia pink or a leopard print.
Longchamp artistic director Sophie Delafontaine met D’heygere while she was a jury member for the 2018 ANDAM Prize, where the Belgian designer won the accessories prize.
Delafontaine said she’d been “very impressed by the way [D’heygere] twists function, plays with functionality.”
Finding the idea of having multiple functionalities in a product “cool,” she invited D’heygere to revisit the French label’s famous Le Pliage foldable tote.
“It was a neat pitch because [Longchamp] asked me to work around Le Pliage but without doing a bag,” remembered D’heygere.
The result was a raincoat that rolled up into a belt bag that sold out shortly after its 2019 release and “embraced very well this idea of new mobility” that segued with Longchamp’s offering of lightweight, sturdy travel products.
For the second iteration of their collaboration, they expanded on this idea of mobility, here tweaked with the idea of “mobility in the city itself” and “twisting the Pliage spirit into a full capsule collection.”
Being in an urban setting means “temperatures are never ideal” for walking or cycling, “there’s a bit of rain, of wind and we also thought about the fact that it could be people in transit for work,” said Paris-based D’heygere, who feels that “practical but fashionable” could be that little extra push to get out the door.
Using recycled materials for this capsule segued with Longchamp’s more sustainable approach but is also a direction that D’heygere started exploring in the spring 2023 collection of her own brand, where she turned her stash of now-defunct DVDs into earrings.
Fuchsia is one of the six colorways in the Longchamp x D’heygere capsule.
D’heygere said a major draw in this collaboration is the “democratic” side brought by the French brand’s audience, many-fold larger than the one for her independent jewelry brand. Longchamp’s foldable tote is a bag that has a universal feel to it, having been “carried by so many different people [who] use it in their own way,” she said.
For Delafontaine, collaborating with creatives of all artistic walks is about “someone with a strong point of view, a strong universe [taking] the Pliage [bag range] somewhere else,” she said.
Among these directions were an origami-based capsule with Tokyo-based design studio Nendo that challenged the well-known tote bag’s shape; designs that were “very pop and with a sense of humor” imagined with Jeremy Scott, and turning Longchamp totes into “a piece of wall in the street” by dressing them through a collaboration with graffiti artist André Saraiva.
Priced between $175 and $390, the Longchamp x D’heygere capsule collection will launch on Jan. 3 on the French brand’s website and select retail locations globally. In Paris, a dedicated pop-up will take pride of place in Lonchamp’s Saint-Honoré flagship store.