Longchamp arrived on one of London’s most prestigious shopping streets in 2000, its first store in the UK. It fast proved popular and acted as an ideal showcase for the house’s range of goods. The increase in that range, the growth of the brand and the arrival of a flagship store on Regent Street led to the decision to renovate both the interior and exterior of an important destination.
The store announces its presence with a light, bright façade which gives passers-by the impression that that this is not just a single shop, but a Longchamp building, containing a 3 of floors of style, quality and richness. There is an equally airy interior which features elegant two-tone marble floors and plush taupe rugs throughout. The watchword of the three sales floors is luxury, with light elm, fabric, limestone and tooled leather features.
The new 270m2 store has been created by architect, Eric Carlson and his team at Carbondale who drew on the concept of Le Pliage bag to create panels of folding screens along the store walls, in order to show products at their best and recall the properties of the iconic Longchamp product. They have cleverly brought in elements of the Longchamp identity throughout the store with subtle references to the LM crisscross design appearing in etched metal and glass, embossed leather and patterned lacquer.
As visitors move through the ground floor store they are guided through the women’s bags, accessories and shoes collections. Each area is elegantly and subtly delineated by a change in floor covering or color, while retaining a unified feel and experience.
A dramatic white staircase and a striking three floor 63m2 installation by renowned US artist, Maya Hayuk, draws them in further into a journey of discovery. The two elements interact and allow visitors to see different aspects of the kaleidoscope-colored artwork, seeing it from different angles and perspectives with altered light. The work calls on features of Longchamp’s range, Hayuk explains, “I reacted directly to the colors and hues of the bags that Longchamp produces. There's a real, earthy, softness and organic nature to this palette that I find very comforting, optimistic and appealing. It was an incredible experience to work with Longchamp, one that built on shared values of optimism, love of art, love of color, love of people and progress.”
The now customary Le Pliage ‘color wall’ stretches along the rear of the first floor opposite an entire wall of Le Pliage Cuir, showing it to its very best. Ready to wear clothing and shoes are also housed on this floor in a space filled with natural light from a skylight and windows onto the famous street.
Men’s’ goods and luggage are found on the lower ground floor in an elegant, more sober area featuring striped marble floors complemented by walnut furnishings. A macassar ebony and walnut ceiling defines the luggage section.
Throughout the store’s interior, signature materials celebrate the essence of Longchamp’s elegance and modernity. The beauty of the luxurious materials chosen and the close attention to detail pay homage to the brand’s tradition of craftsmanship and quality. The lighter side of Longchamp’s personality and heritage is also evident in humorous touches such as the gallery of paintings and prints of horses in the restroom and a giant rendition of a leather-clad pipe of the ceiling of the elevator in recognition of the house of Longchamp’s beginnings.
Longchamp CEO, and grandson of the House’s founder, Jean Cassegrain says of the renovated store “London lies at the heart of Europe as its biggest city. It is vibrant, exciting and stylish. This store was our first in the capital and remains an important part of our London heritage. It will sit alongside our larger, flagship store in Regent Street and smaller store in Westfield, offering a calmer, more discreet environment.
“This is an exciting time for the Longchamp brand as we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the launch of the Le Pliage bag, create new products and now open a second beautiful store in the heart of London. This is a stylish and elegant environment for customers to discover our ready to wear and shoe collections, as well as our wide range of stylish bags and accessories. Longchamp’s French heritage, classic elegance, family roots and craftsmanship can be seen throughout the store; qualities that are important to us and that are also valued by our London customers.”
Eric Carlson believes that this is “a customized and elegant store which matches the proportions, atmosphere and culture of the street where it is sited. It is all about Longchamp and all about Longchamp’s customers. We wanted to create a journey of discovery that would guide the visitor through an experience of Longchamp’s values.”