INTERVIEW WITH JEREMY SCOTT
How did your partnership with Longchamp begin?
It all started with a project to do a series of bags that looked like shipping crates with "This is not your bag" stamped on the pocket. The inspiration came from that dummy luggage airlines put on baggage carousels with warnings on them to check your name tag because a lot of bags look the same.
How would you describe your relationship with Longchamp?
It's like I'm part of the family! From the second I started working on that project, falling in love with the Le Pliage® bag and being asked to design a special edition for my collection, I just fell head over heels for the brand and the people who created it.
Longchamp is a family business. Does that change anything?
Yes, definitely. It really comes through in how they approach projects and manage all the shops. Love for the trade transcends tradition.
Fashion is notoriously fleeting. Why do you think this partnership has lasted so long?
The staying power lies in the Le Pliage® bag's ability to be transformed. It's the brand's icon! It can be THE look of the season for every collection. Simply put, it's the perfect medium for creativity.
What three words would you use to describe Longchamp?
What's your process with Longchamp each season?
I have been working with Sophie and Jean for so long that they trust me to give everything I've got and come up with concepts that capture the essence of the season. I can make minor adjustments at the last minute given the kind of deadlines we have. That's my biggest problem!
What selection criteria do you use when choosing a pattern or image to put on the Longchamp Le Pliage® bag?
I try to use the image I think best represents the collection or will tell its story. Needless to say, I also think about what goes best with it and lastly what I would want to bring with me.
Why do you only work on one style – the travel bag – and why that style in particular?
I love that style. It's the best! Not only can you store tons of things in the bag, but it's the perfect size for my graphics, as you can see. I love stuff that's a bit racy!
Out of all your designs for Longchamp, which ones are your favorites?
The "Greetings from Paradise" postcard bag is one of my favorites because it makes me feel like I'm on vacation. I also really like the Gold Card one.
What personal items do you put in your Le Pliage® travel bag?
It might be better to ask which personal items not to put in the bag! I'm constantly stuffing them in there. It's a miracle to always be able to carry them around. I have to say it's so durable that I've never ripped or damaged it, I put tons of heavy books in it and never had a problem.
When did you realize you wanted to be a fashion designer?
Maybe around 13 or 14 years old, when I realized I could actually turn my love for fashion into a career.
What else would you have done?
I studied art and art history, I was seriously into it. That was really my world until I started getting interested in fashion.
Who and what inspires you?
So many people and things do!
My friends, life in general. The process can be as random as the color of the car I'm driving or as well-known as Barbie! There are infinite sources of inspiration and they take on any number of forms, from small to huge.
Which well-known fashion designers, past or present, do you look up to the most?
Rudi Gernreich is definitely one of my favorites. His work with Peggy Moffit was a deeply touching lesson for me in the kind of relationship a designer has with his muse. I was lucky that she brought up the subject with me herself. It was magical!
What words would you use to describe your sense of aesthetics?
Fun, sexy, colorful, and cheerful!
What does humor bring to fashion?
A touch of levity, I hope.
What is your best quality? What is your worst fault?
My best quality is taking care of others. I truly do care for my friends and their happiness. I think I am a good friend. My worst fault would maybe be that I don't know how to say no.
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
It's not real, it's just a phase!!!
What is your idea of the perfect day?
I would go to a double feature. I love going to the movies!
What is your favorite place on earth?
What do you consider the most precious thing?
The friendship I have with the people I love, whom I am very close to. That is what I cherish the most!
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what music and book would you want to have?
I can listen to Lana Del Rey anytime anywhere, so I think she'd be the one. My favorite book is Maybe the Moon by Armistead Maupin.
INTERVIEW WITH SOPHIE DELAFONTAINE
How did Longchamp's partnership with Jeremy Scott begin?
I met Jeremy for the first time in New York in 2005 through a mutual acquaintance. At the time we were getting ready to open the Longchamp flagship store in Soho. It was an avant-garde project designed by Thomas Heatherwick, who was very special to us. I had already heard people talking about how talented Jeremy was, but I thought he was amazing and absolutely thrilled he agreed to design a collection of bags to commemorate the opening.
Would that be the "This is not your bag" series?
Yes! Jeremy came to see me with all this rolling luggage that looked like wooden crates stamped with "Fragile" and "This is not your bag" in big letters. That collaboration made a huge splash, especially because Longchamp had never released a line like that before.
How did that project develop from there?
We were so happy with the "This is not your bag " collection that we wanted to continue working together. Jeremy then came up with the idea to choose a print from his ready-to-wear collection and put it on the Le Pliage® bag. He wanted to give the bags to VIP guests at his fashion show and Longchamp wanted to sell them as a limited edition, which we have done.
So this is definitely a mutually beneficial partnership?
That's what makes it so great. Jeremy sees the Le Pliage® as a source of inspiration and a way to shine the spotlight on his runway shows because everyone wants to get the bag and for Longchamp it's a new version that customers anxiously await every season. We have been on the same wave length from the start. Jeremy brings us his energy, optimism and passion for color plus his sense of humor, which are all values that have been part of Longchamp's DNA forever.
Is there a specific kind of customer who buys the Le Pliage® bag by Jeremy Scott?
Of course, there are many people who collect them but this series appeals to a broad range of customers and, depending on the design, the customers change every season. Each print reflects a different state of mind. One season it might be Kawaii style, the next it could be more manly or the theme may be something about vacations. So every release is unique, yet you can always tell it's a Jeremy Scott creation.
What do you think draws people to Jeremy Scott?
Everyone can relate to his sense of humor, which is quite amazing. He's able to be funny without reducing it to something crass, which is a rare quality. Even though it's usually considered pop art, his work holds many other hidden treasures. He has a stunning sense of detail. Everything he does has a little added touch that we miss the first time.
How do you actually work together?
Well, we email back and forth a lot because I work in Paris and Jeremy is in Los Angeles. But we enjoy seeing each other whenever we can. Every season he emails me the image that he wants us to use. When his email arrives, I'm like a little girl opening Christmas presents. It's such a special occasion!
Does Jeremy usually send you a few suggestions or just one?
Usually only one because he actually chooses a graphic from his collection that he specially redesigns just for the Le Pliage®. Jeremy knows exactly what he wants. Typically, his images are put right on the bag and, like I was saying before, he's really detailed-oriented which means it takes a long time to do. The Madballs collection in Fall 2014 was the only exception. We designed different images to create pairs.
It's obvious you like working with Jeremy...
Absolutely! On the outside he's seen as an eccentric fashion designer, but he's a consummate professional and a real perfectionist with an incredible work ethic. He is also the gentlest and kindest person you could ever meet. It's a real pleasure working with him.
Do you own a Le Pliage® bag by Jeremy Scott?
I have all of them and use them all the time. I almost always bring them with me when I travel. It is surprising how enjoyable waiting at the airport can be with a Jeremy Scott bag, like when the other travelers are in a rush and they all have the same luggage. It's almost become a lucky charm.
What are your favorite pieces?
It's hard to choose, but I have a slight weakness for one of Jeremy's first creations, the Poodle Bag. It has a little pink poodle who's landed on earth (Fall 2007). It's timeless and always makes me smile. The bag I probably use the most is the one with the pink and black planes and roses, which has a rock 'n' roll feel to it (Spring 2009). When I go on vacation, I always take the "Greetings from Paradise" postcard bag to get me in the mood (Spring 2012).
Why did you decide to work on the Le Pliage® travel bag format?
Just because everyone likes that style. For example, a smaller style would have only been for women. The travel bag model can be worn as a women's handbag or a men's briefcase. It can also be used as a gym bag and Jeremy Scott fans use it as a city bag.
Have you ever tried adding a different model?
No, because we want to keep the Le Pliage® by Jeremy Scott as an exclusive. Expanding the collection would defeat the purpose.
Have you and Jeremy planned to commemorate this 10-year anniversary by doing a retrospective?
Quite the contrary, we are actually planning our next release. We are not into nostalgia. In fact, I think we can't wait to celebrate the next 10 years!