Longchamp knows its ties to Paris give it a leg up. In October, Jean Cassegrain told Success Magazine the brand designs bags with this in mind.
“Our strategy is to stay true to the brand values in every region and keep in mind our first customer: the Parisian woman,” he said. “French women are known for their effortless elegance, their dynamism, their optimistic take on life. Our approach to luxury like theirs is casual, effortless, optimistic.”
“It’s managed to maintain an element of Parisian chic in a way that a brand like Michael Kors never can,” Lysts’s Ormerod says. “There are probably more Longchamp le pliage bags out there than the Michael Kors Jet Set, but they don’t have the same connotation when it comes to status.”
In addition to the all-important French connection, Ormerod notes Longchamp executes campaigns that have an added air of luxury. Ambassadors for the brand include Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, and Longchamp bags is constantly doing collaborations with designers like Jeremy Scott and Mary Katrantzou and artists like Tracy Emin and Jean-Luc Moerman.
“It really feels like they tap into pop culture,” says Bloomingdale’s Russo.
Strategically, the brand also only has two outlets stores in the UK (for comparison, Coach has 225 and Michael Kors has 45).
Some certainly argue that Longchamp is a one-trick pony. Today, more than 80 percent of its business comes from women’s goods, according to the Australian Financial Review, and data provided by Lyst to Racked shows that the Le Pliage bag is the most searched-for and purchased bag within the Longchamp outlet category on the site. But the company is able to lean into the bag’s popularity while still evolving it, offering new colors and design collaborations that keep shoppers coming back. Dusil says Longchamp fans on Longchamp Blog are most excited by limited-edition collaborations and often collect them.
“As other brands try to be fashionable and chase after trends so that they can sell a shape that is in style, Longchamp maintains desirability with the same bag,” says Bernstein’s Ortelli. “They are in a different league. Their strength does not come from extending into different styles.”