Currently in the hands of the second and third generation of Cassegrain’s, Longchamp has achieved a sense of pride and belonging that comes with keeping the business within the family. Sharon Carvalho chats with Sophie Delafontaine, granddaughter of the founder and the Artistic Director of the brand
What is your vision for Longchamp?
Longchamp is a French luxury global brand. The handbags and accessories have a worldwide reputation for craftsmanship and quality, which we want to now extend to shoes and ready-to-wear collections.
How has your background and your past experiences shaped you?
As you know, Longchamp is a family business. My grandfather, Jean Cassegrain, founded the brand 66 years ago. I was immersed in the world of Longchamp from my earliest years. After my graduation at ESMOD, a renowned Parisian fashion school, I worked for Bonpoint where I learned high standards and discipline. But four years after, I joined my father, Philippe Cassegrain, in the creative department to contribute to the expansion of Longchamp into an internationally desirable fashion and accessories brand. He has always told me that “nothing is impossible”, and that has always helped me to move forward.
What do you believe is the secret towards Longchamp staying within the family?
At Longchamp, we have always taken the time to do things well. Nothing is done in a hurry. It is a real chance for us. Also, we all get on well and we are all headed in the same direction.
How have you grown through working with the brand?
I have been working for Longchamp for twenty years and within those two decades it has changed a lot. I have grown with it. At the beginning I only worked on handbags and accessories, I now create shoes and ready-to-wear collections as well. Regarding our network, we also have a strong expansion with 275 boutiques worldwide, which was not the case when I started.
How do you define the Long champ woman?
She is an international active woman, very feminine, who enjoys creativity and a touch of luxury every day.
What are your thoughts on the fashion sense of the women of the Middle East?
The women from the Middle East are not that different from European women. They are international women, who
are modern and enjoy fashion and creativity.
What is the legacy you would like to leave for your children?
I really would like to convey the passion to them. I hope they will always do what they want with passion. Another important thing is respect, the respect of the people and the respect of the product.
What advice would you give to the next generation?
Be curious and be determined to see projects through to the end.