Known for their upmarket accessories and handbags, French luxury retail brand Longchamp have just opened what is their biggest store to date – 550 square metres in one of London’s most popular shopping destinations, Regent Street. The retail shop design was completed by the firm’s in-house design team and provides an impressive flagship on three levels for the much-admired retail brand, until they open an even larger store over 700 square metres on the Champs Elysees in Paris next year.
One of three Longchamp stores in London, the new Longchamp store replaces the Diesel Village pop-up store which previously traded in this retail space for three months earlier this year. The new design provides a stunning visual treat which includes a wall of brightly coloured Le Pliage handbags arranged in floor-to-ceiling rows, a kinetic sculpture and huge video screens on a wall behind the payment area. The handbag collection is showcased on a mezzanine level between floors. Women’s bags, accessories and ready to wear are situated on the ground floor whilst the men’s collection and luggage selection is situated on the upper level.
Jean Cassegrain, chief executive of Longchamp describes London as a ‘key city’ in their global retail strategy, suggesting a vote of confidence in the city’s recovering economy.
Founded by Cassegrain’s grandfather – also named Jean Cassegrain – in 1948 Longchamp is still controlled by the family. Initially the firm produced leather-covered smoking pipes before branching out into accessories during the 1950s – becoming best known for their luxury branded handbags. Longchamp now claim that their ‘Le Pliage’ is the world’s best-loved handbag, having sold 26 million since 1993. Increased demand from emerging middle class populations in Asia has caused the company’s sales to grow by 75% in the last three years, prompting the redevelopment and redesign of existing stores a well as new stores planned globally in the next few years.
Cassegrain describes the look and feel of the new regent street retail shop design:
“The mood throughout will be light, elegant and relaxed with clean lines. Natural materials such as stone, marble, glass, wood and leather recall Longchamp’s heritage of craftsmanship.
“The house’s strong link with the arts will be celebrated with a large sculpture, which will soar above the floating mezzanine.”
Even if you can’t afford to treat yourself to a new bag in the current economic climate, for lovers of exciting retail design this store is well worth a visit – if only to see the mixture of product-as-art on the ‘Le Pliage’ handbag wall, the contemporary sculpture and new retail technology in the form of the video wall behind the counter. We can’t wait to see what they bring out for the Champs Elysees store next year, can you?