The designer of the wildly popular Longchamp Le Pliage bag, Philippe Cassegrain, has passed away at the age of 83 in a hospital due to COVID-19 complications.
Cassegrain dedicated more than 60 years to the family-owned brand and last held the reigns at Longchamp as the president of the company. Cassegrain’s father founded the Longchamp brand and originally produced tobacco pipe coverings. The brand later went onto make leather goods such as wallets and clutches for men. All goods were manufactured in France’s Loire Valley.
At the age of 16, Cassegrain was drafted by his father to expand Longchamp’s international relationships, and Cassegrain was sent off with product samples in his suitcase to Asia, Africa and the U.S.
Upon his return, Cassegrain officially joined the firm and helped with everything from ideation and creation to manufacturing and marketing/sales development. In 1972, Cassegrain introduced travel bags that featured use of both nylon and leather.
After Cassegrain got married, the Longchamp brand introduced women’s handbags and in 1993, and the Le Pliage bag was born, later becoming the brand’s best-selling and most iconic style. Longchamp has sold more than 30 million of the Le Pliage style to-date.
Today, Philippe Cassegrain’s eldest son Jean holds the position of chief executive officer while his daughter Sophie Delafontaine works as a creative director and his younger son Olivier oversees the brand’s American boutiques. Cassegrain’s two grandsons have also joined the family business, Adrien assuming the role as transformation director and Hector as the U.K. general manager.
Services, which are for family only, are scheduled for December 4 at the Basilica of Saint Clotilde in Paris.