WIG: Longchamp Le Pliage Bag

The Longchamp Le Pliage bag is one of the most versatile high-fashion bags, seen on the arms of icons ranging from Kate Middleton to Angela Merkel to Miley Cyrus. The bag, which ranges from $95-$145, is not an “it-bag” in the sense that it is not difficult to get your hands on one, and it is definitely not the most notable accessory of any outfit. However, since its release, it has proven to be incredibly successful and was noted as one of the prime factors of Longchamp reaching a $1.5 billion valuation (Forbes). What makes this nylon bag with leather straps so successful is its incredible versatility. The nylon fabric makes it comfortable to hold against the body, and casual enough to render the bag something to take to the gym, or into which to throw a pear of sneakers. However, the classic solid color style coupled with leather straps makes it an elegant accessory, which initially gained its popularity as a staple for french journalists.   The history behind the design of Le Pliage is remarkable. The family which owned and operated Longchamp used to work in the tobacco business, so in post-war Paris, they were already incredibly connected with trade routes (particularly to China and Japan). Longchamp was one of the first companies to trade in Japan. The Le Pliage bag, which means “the fold” or “a fold”, was inspired by a trip to Japan in which founder Philippe observed intricate origami folds and decided to model a women’s nylon bag after an easily-foldable fabric and pattern. Thus, the bags versatility due to its comfortable fabric which can hold just about any items and move in fluid manners. The barrier of access to Japanese cultures at this historical time is what makes this Longchamp success seem like it was a flash of pure luck (in the sense that they did, in fact, have access to these trade routes), and urges one to consider the historical context behind prominent and successful fashion designs.

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