From Family Tradition to Luxury Icon

Did you know that Longchamp started as a factory making leather-covered pipes? The story dates back to 1948 when Jean Cassegrain reinvented the codes of modern luxury with the Longchamp brand, later expanding its ‘savoir-faire’ to the creation of travel accessories, handbags, ready-to-wear, and shoes. Today, the renowned products of Maison Longchamp are present around the world.

A Luxury Brand Created by a Family Business

The company remains in the hands of the Cassegrain family and is approaching its 70th year of operation. Jean, the eldest son of the founder, recalls his memories of the Maison’s first decade: “back then, we didn’t go to school on Thursdays and would spend our time making cigarette cases or passport holders. I had a gilding machine, with which I would stamp the Longchamp brand with gold leaves.”

Origins and First Steps Towards Luxury

The first Longchamp store was located in the heart of Paris, in an ideal location: Boulevard Poissonnière, a highly commercial area. “It was a beautiful journey, from Place de la République to Madeleine. The Champs-Elysées hardly existed…” the family recounts. Cassegrain was inspired by the route he traveled daily from his home to the center of Paris, passing by the Longchamp racecourse, to create the logo that the Maison would never part with: a galloping horse, symbolizing elegance and movement.

Distribution and Expansion Strategies

In the 1950s, Cassegrain set up a stand at Orly Airport, attended not only by passengers but also by many people coming to see their famous stars arrive in Paris. Celebrities like Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Romy Schneider, and even Ray Charles, had chosen that spot for their Parisian interviews. The stand was a significant milestone for the company, which today is present in many ‘Duty-free’ shops at airports around the world.

Innovation and Brand Differentiation

In 1993, Le Pliage was born, from the French verb ‘to fold’. This would be a line of foldable nylon bags, reminiscent of the Japanese art of Origami, which involves folding paper without making cuts to achieve various shapes. Undoubtedly, this is the iconic piece of the Longchamp collection, a symbol of Masstige (Massive Prestige).

Authenticity and Exclusivity as Pillars of Luxury

How to know if a bag is original? Check if there is a label inside with the brand name and a serial number. In an authentic bag, the interior labels are hand-sewn or stamped on the leather. In some cases, designers include an authenticity tag inside the bag.

Other Branding Stories

At AK-Branding, we not only explore the stories of iconic brands like Longchamp, but we also delve into the trajectories of other great brands. For example, you can discover the fascinating story behind ASICS, a brand that has set the pace in the world of sports, by visiting our post on The Story Behind the ASICS Brand. Additionally, if you want to delve deeper into how we analyze and develop branding strategies, do not miss our article on Brand Analysis, where we explore the techniques and tools we use to understand and improve the presence of brands in the market.

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Learn more about how branding and marketing strategies can transform a family business into a global luxury leader. Visit our main page to explore how we can help you achieve this level of success with your brand.