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SoChic Stories

Everyday Elegance with Longchamp: Interview with Mollie Jean De Dieu

Longchamp is a company that began life 71 years ago as a small pipe shop in France, and has since blossomed into a 300-boutique worldwide luxury brand encompassing everything from fine leather goods to ready-to-wear, shoes, bags, and eyewear. Like a racing horse running on M. Cassegrain’s beloved Longchamp hippodrome, embracing the winds of creativity and ever-changing fashion terrain, Longchamp remains ahead of the game while keeping true to one thing: craftsmanship.

For the occasion , Mollie Jean De Dieu, General Manager and part of the Longchamp family for 12 years, welcomed So Chic at Longchamp’s Singapore flagship at ION Orchard. Simple and elegant – classic with a twist as she would say – Mollie walks us through Longchamp’s story, her journey and her love for the brand. And as we dived into the Longchamp universe, we couldn’t help but feel the passion poured into the bags, the shoes, the clothes. Discover a day and night in the life of a Longchamp woman (and her wardrobe)!

Longchamp has evolved gracefully, steadily, and always with a twist of humour. We were founded in 1948 by the Longchamp-Cassegrain family and today, the brand is run by the second and third generations of the same family. The House of Longchamp established its reputation by creating a luxury pipe covered in leather, and selling smoking goods to an international clientele in Paris.

We then developed other collections. In 1950, we first introduced the fine leather goods. In 1972, Philippe Cassegrain, the founder’s son, creates the Le Pliage® bag, a line that is so now incredibly iconic! Ready-to-wear and shoe lines were launched in 2006 and 2012 respectively, and our first eyewear collection was introduced in 2017.

We truly have evolved gradually throughout the years in order to stay in tune with the demands of our DNA. There is no brand today that is a monobrand.

We celebrated 70 years of creativity at the Palais Garnier in Paris, the birthplace of the House. To celebrate our Anniversary in Singapore, we transformed The Paragon’s main entrance into Café de Longchamp, an French style pop-up café, bringing the Parisian spirit of the brand’s heritage to Orchard Road for two days.

Longchamp is not necessarily ‘rewriting’ the rules, but I do think it is steadily sustaining its place within the running race of today’s competition. We are still a brand that people know, want, desire and relate to. We are continuing to give women (and men!) what they are looking for from head to toe: sunglasses, ready-to-wear, shoes, the bags to go from day to night or the bags to travel with. And everything with a spin of fun and artistry that we keep fresh through our various collaborations.

The core standing values of the brand are to stay close to the DNA and to remain as authentic as possible, from one collection to the other.

Last year, our Artistic Director Sophie Delafontaine teamed up with New York-based designer Shayne Oliver to develop an innovative capsule collection of travel accessories and ready-to-wear (below), an international launch that almost sold out overnight. In 2018, we also collaborated with French cartoonist Clo’e Floirat, and we just ended a 10-year collaboration with Jeremy Scott!

Longchamp will continue to collaborate with creative artists & personalities in 2019 to keep the brand relevant and fresh.

The Mademoiselle Longchamp collection, which was launched last year, is one of our key leather bag lines at the moment. Longchamp latest ‘it’ bag, the Amazone, worn by Kendall Jenner and Mrs. Brigitte Macron, the French first lady, is already becoming a must-have.

The ready-to-wear and the shoes are starting to pick up. For a while, people, in Singapore especially, did not know that Longchamp also offered ready-to-wear and shoe collections. The Longchamp silhouette is elegant and sensual, yet practical and very wearable.

I especially love the dresses and the leather jackets, and the fact that our ready-to-wear collection is accessible to the everyday woman.

I think the Pliage’s success is very much due to the fact it is a practical bag, it comes in a rainbow of colours, and it is just so easy to travel with. A while ago, Jeremy Scott said “I love quality and what the Longchamp brand represents”, then on Le Pliage he says, “Le Pliage is a symbol of France like croissants or the Eiffel Tower”. There you have it! I could not agree more.

Everything starts with Sophie Delafontaine, our creative director. She really works on impulse and instinct – those are her words – in term of the creative process. Each bag is handmade, down to the nylon bags. A lot of people think that they are made by machines because of the quantity we sell but they are handmade. And we have six factories in France scattered throughout, our main one being Segré. We are very proud to still be a family company that produces all of its leather goods by hand. The notion of craftsmanship is very important within our Maison.

No, I lived in Hong Kong for nine years during which I directed the Asia Pacific wholesale business. It was a time of real business development and realignment of the brand’s overall strategic direction.

I was promoted (soon to be four years ago) to open up the Singapore and Malaysia subsidiary and bring back the brand in the forefront of people’s mind. I remember thinking to myself: “I am ready, when do I start?”

A lot of family-owned companies are now being gobbled up by huge multinationals. It is a privilege nowadays to still be family-owned. Every decision that the family makes is thoroughly thought out and rolled out in its due time.

We are not an elitist brand: we cater to all demographics, ages and pockets books, and I think that is what makes our strength as well.

The Longchamp woman is a multi-tasker, globe-trotter and a dream catcher. She is also confident in her own skin, unapologetic when it comes to expressing who she is, whilst always staying respectful and humble. She is energetic, spiritual and altogether, happy to be alive.

I very much relate to her, yes I do.

Refinement, quality, exclusivity and elegance.

Feminine, classic-with-a-twist and colourful.

The medium-sized Pliage that I use on weekends. I have two children (4 and 6 years old) so I tend not to take out the leather bags when I am with them and when we’re out and about. I’ll use this one, in every colour I have. But I especially like the grey one because it just goes with everything.

I also love my red Le Pliage Cuir with my monogrammed initials on it.

My lipstick, a mirror, my phone, my wireless earphones, my keys, my fragrance, (grabs her bag and looks inside), my wallet and my hand cream.

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