A COLLABORATION OF ENERGY, POETRY AND POSITIVITY
Longchamp is delighted to announce Longchamp & André, a collaboration with the Parisian graffiti artist André Saraiva, whose jaunty Mr. A character – with his winking eye and toothy grin – spreads humour and happiness wherever he pops up, be that on the walls of the French capital, or countless other cities around the world.
It is a collaboration that seemed destined to happen; an encounter written in the stars – or, more precisely, on a door, as Longchamp Creative Director Sophie Delafontaine explains: “Years ago, one of our first Paris showrooms was a rented space near Place de la Concorde. When we moved in, we discovered André had been there before us – because right there, on the back of a door, was Mr. A. You could say that was our first meeting. We eventually left the showroom, but we kept the door!”
André, for his part, was well aware of Longchamp’s Le Pliage®, a design he admires for its “simplicity and practicality which transcend time and fashion trends.” He was therefore keen to accept Longchamp’s invitation to become the latest artist to turn the iconic foldable bag into a canvas for creativity. With a few bold strokes of his pen, André transformed four formats of Le Pliage® – all in recycled nylon – into three variations of Mr. A and one of his companion, Mrs. A, who bats her eyelashes and blows a kiss. “The designs are typical André: full of energy, poetry and positivity,” says Sophie Delafontaine. “Everyone knows that Le Pliage® is a favourite canvas for artists, but this is the first time it has actually become a character!”
The colours nod to André’s pop palette – “I’m in my pink and blue period,” quips the artist about his choice of candy pink and sky blue, adding that he particularly loves to work with pink because “it’s the only colour that marries with all the others.” The range is completed by graphic black and a particularly vibrant take on Longchamp’s signature green.
A special request from André was to create a leather version of its Le Pliage® travel bag that he could take with him on his frequent trips around the world. Accordingly, Longchamp selected a natural calf leather that will acquire a beautiful patina over time, while André revisited the Longchamp racehorse medallion in his own inimitable style. “The new medallion is a true combination of André and Longchamp,” says Sophie Delafontaine, pointing out that the circular medallion has long featured on the zip pull of Le Pliage®, while the circle is the basis of André’s best-known characters. “I can draw perfect circles with my eyes closed,” smiles the artist.
The final highlight of the collaboration is a limited edition of 200 small Le Pliage® bags in recycled polyester canvas, printed in pink and blue with Mr. A motifs, which will be customised directly by André. Each bag will be totally unique and individually numbered – an original artwork to carry around every day!
Longchamp is exclusively available at Rustan’s Makati, Rustan’s Shangri-La, Rustan’s Cebu, Greenbelt 5 and Rustans.com
LONGCHAMP & ANDRÉ
How did the collaboration come about? Had you already met?
Sophie Delafontaine: Funnily enough, we hadn’t, although of course everybody knows André!
André: And I knew all about your bags, as well as your collaborations with artists whose work I admire. Sophie Delafontaine: I say we hadn’t met, but in a way we had… Years ago, one of Longchamp’s first Paris showrooms was a rented space near Place de la Concorde. When we moved in, we discovered André had been there before us – because right there, on the back of a door, was Mr. A. So you could call that our first meeting. We eventually left the showroom, but we kept the door!
So Sophie, why André?
Sophie Delafontaine: Because he is both a Parisian artist and an international artist whose work we love
– it is full of energy, poetry and positivity, and it has lit up the walls of Paris for years. Quite apart from that, André has great personal elegance.
André, you are very much associated with Paris. What does Paris represent for you? André: Paris is a city of contradictions, starting with its juxtaposition of classicism and modernity. Every time I come back to Paris and cross the Seine, I just think: “Wow!” It’s so beautiful. And then, of course, there’s love. There’s lots of love in Paris!
Why did you choose graffiti as your mode of artistic expression?
André: I started very young, it just seemed so natural that I didn’t even ask myself the question. It gave me both a raison d’être and a sense of freedom, of being different. I’m still doing it – it’s something that is necessary for me.
And now you get to graffiti Longchamp’s Le Pliage®…
André: For me, Le Pliage® epitomises simplicity and practicality which transcend time and fashion trends. That also makes it a great canvas for artistic expression.
Sophie Delafontaine: Obviously, Le Pliage® has been the subject of numerous creative collaborations, but I think it is fair to say that, for the first time ever, André has actually transformed it into a character! André: That’s true – every bag is a different character!
For the main Le Pliage® collaboration, you chose recycled nylon canvas and a colour palette of black, green, pink and blue. What was the thinking behind this?
Sophie Delafontaine: The recycled nylon is part of Longchamp’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, following on from our launch last year of Le Pliage® Green. The colours draw on the urban landscape and André’s colour palette, as well as our signature green. The energising effect of colour was something that really brought us together.
André: I’m in my pink and blue period! Pink is actually very special – it’s the only colour that marries with all the others.
The collection also includes a travel bag in natural calf leather…
André: I love all the bags, but this is possibly my favourite, because Longchamp practically made it just for me.
Sophie Delafontaine: André really wanted a leather bag to take with him on his travels. He mimed the action of how he would sling it over his shoulder. Obviously, the natural leather is a nod to Longchamp’s heritage, and it will take on a beautiful patina over time.
The bag is embossed with André’s reinterpretation of the Longchamp racehorse medallion…
Sophie Delafontaine: For me, the new medallion – with the racehorse galloping on a background of a heart and the winking eyes of Mr. A – is really the signature of the collaboration, a true combination of André and Longchamp. We use the circular medallion on the zip pull of Le Pliage®, while André works with circles all the time.
André: So much so, that I can draw a perfect circle with my eyes closed!
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