Longchamp Builds on Kate Moss Tie-up

Company unveils a third collaboration with the model along with a new ceo for the U.S.

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWDStyle issue 03/07/2011

PARIS — A hot bag and a minimovie for Kate Moss, a new chief executive officer for the U.S. and 23 percent sales growth for the year. Those are a few of the latest developments for Longchamp, the quietly successful, family-owned private company.

This story first appeared in the March 7, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The French leather goods firm today will unveil on its Web site a two-minute digital ad campaign for the spring 2011 Kate Moss for Longchamp handbag line. Moss has been designing the collection for the house for the last three seasons and has an open contract with the firm.

Sporting a fringed hairdo and kohl-rimmed eyes, Moss cuts a Sixties bohemian Talitha Getty-style figure in the film, titled “Faraway.” It was shot in Marrakech, Morocco, by Alasdair McLellan using a grainy Super-8 effect.

Launched a year ago, the Kate Moss for Longchamp line has generated “significant” sales, producing the company’s best-selling leather bag for the year: the Gloucester, according to ceo Jean Cassegrain, who said the collaboration has had a significant impact on the brand’s general business. Coming off of an “excellent” year, Longchamp’s full-year sales in 2010 rose by 23 percent versus the year-ago period, to 321 million euros, or $474.1 million at average exchange.

Sales in the U.S. and Canada leaped 37.5 percent in the same period.

Among new executive developments for the brand in North America, Longchamp has tapped Gucci America’s vice president of wholesale, Stephanie Disegni, as its U.S. ceo, succeeding Marti Carroll, who is retiring. Disegni will start April 18.

With 200 points of sales and nine stand-alone stores in the U.S. and Canada, the brand, which is well represented on the U.S.’ East Coast, plans to ramp up its presence on the West Coast. A 2,000-square-foot store is slated to open in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., in late May.

Cassegrain said he still sees big potential for growth in the U.S. “Our aim is to increase sales per point of sale, rather than the number of points of sale,” he said.

Online accounts for around 10 percent of sales in the U.S. “Over the past three or four years, [e-commerce] is the distribution channel that has increased the most,” said Cassegrain.

Later this month, Longchamp will open a flagship in Hong Kong, which, measuring around 4,300 square feet, will be the company’s biggest store in Asia. Moss, who has fronted campaigns for the brand since 2006, is scheduled to do the ribbon cutting.

Meanwhile, a separate print campaign for the firm’s main bag line featuring Audrey Marnay has just been shot in Provence in the South of France. The model already fronts Longchamp’s current campaign.

The house’s iconic nylon Pliage bag remains its most successful style, with 2 million models sold in 2010. By yearend, Cassegrain said Longchamp will have sold around 20 million Pliage bags since its launch in 1993. “We’re ready for the ‘Guinness Book of Records,’” he said.