This Is the Asian Inspiration Behind Longchamp's Le Pliage

Insight from the bag's designer himself.

The Longchamp Le Pliage is undoubtedly one of the most popular bag styles among Filipinas. The bag's universal appeal has made it a favored choice to carry around as a daily tote or a favorite traveling companion. Limited edition colorways, creative collaborations, and personalization notwithstanding, the bag’s signature design is truly what has made it a staple since its creation 25 years ago. Just think of how the lightweight foldable structure makes it portable and easy to pack away, the roomy interiors that guarantee there is space for everything you need to take with you, and how it’s clean lines keep it easy to wear with any outfit.

The Le Pliage Cuir Medium Top Handle Bag

In this Preview exclusive, we interviewed Philippe Cassegraine, Longchamp’s CEO, who designed and created the Le Pliage in 1993.

What ideas and insights were going through your mind when you first designed the Le Pliage in 1993? That’s 25 years ago, did you consider that the style and functionality of the bag’s design needed remain relevant through the decades, as it has proven to be?

"During a trip to the U.S., I took a prototype for a collapsible travel bag. The result of my experimentation was the Xtra bag, which was made of a single piece of fabric. The fabric I selected was nylon, a strong yet light material that nobody had previously used for bags, light and resistant. In 1993, we reworked the idea to create Le Pliage. More playful and modern, Le Pliage shook up convention with its unique design and color palette introduced from the very first collection. On its arrival in stores, it was an instant success! Its trapezoidal structure, zip closure, two ears, two handles and flap teamed up with original new colors each season, as always trimmed with Russian Leather, was a recipe for success. I think a brand needs to constantly reinvent itself and its products, that is why we change colors each season, however we never changed our values."

Articles have shared that the inspiration for the foldable design of the Le Pliage was Japanese origami. Could you tell us more about what you learned about the folding technique and how you decided to apply it to the bag’s design?

"Origami is an ancestral art in Japan. It is a part of the culture and is considered very useful: Origami teaches you rigor, patience and dexterity. Indeed, creating Le Pliage taught me these values. I experimented with different forms to create the final prototype, the iconic Le Pliage. It required time, concentration and commitment. In fact, the bag’s design is constructed architecturally rather than being simply manufactured. The choice of the nylon was really important, just like paper is in the art of origami. The nylon enables the folding thanks to its suppleness and lightness."

The Longchamp Le Pliage Cuir Backpack

Longchamp has reached success because of innovation, universal appeal among women, and its uncompromised quality—would you say these same values are driving the brand forward through the next 25 years?

"Yes, I would like to think so. I trained my children to keep these values in mind and I’m sure they will transmit the same values to the next generation. Innovation and quality are key elements to staying competitive and prevailing on the market against other in front of other luxury industry big names."

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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