Way before collaborations became de rigueur on Planet Fashion, Longchamp was already partnering with a diverse array of artists and designers, all of whom took the label out of its comfort zone, sparking the creative energy that sees it hailed as one of the industry’s movers and shakers.
Now Longchamp is unveiling its latest – and particularly audacious – collaboration: with Emotionally Unavailable (EU), the contemporary fashion brand founded by friends and kindred creative spirits Edison Chen and Kybum Lee. As with all the best partnerships, chance played a part. Longchamp Creative Director Sophie Delafontaine explains: “I first discovered Emotionally Unavailable when I bought a T-shirt for my brother in Shanghai. It made me want to know more about the guys behind the label.” Edison Chen takes up the story: “So chance actually had Sophie and me meet randomly in Japan, just to catch up with each other and get acquainted. I felt like we vibed pretty well, so we decided to find a project to work on together.”
Like many designers before them, EU were inspired by Longchamp’s iconic Le Pliage®, not only for its unique crossgender, cross-generational appeal, but also for its unlimited potential for artistic reinterpretations. They bring their signature offbeat humour to the collaboration in the form of a play on the Longchamp name: “Been a CHAMP a LONG time”. The line hints at the design duo’s inspiration, which is the mind-set of the champion boxer, who fights on even when he’s down. However, their wider message – that, with the same mind-set, we can all be champions in life – also echoes the optimistic, dynamic attitude of Longchamp.
The “Been a CHAMP” design features on four nylon formats of Le Pliage®–a shoulder bag, a small tote, a cute mini backpack and a belt bag – while a spacious travel bag is printed with an all-over pattern of red EU hearts and Longchamp racehorses.
Emotionally Unavailable then turned their attention to Le Pliage® Cuir, for which they transformed the Longchamp signature into a bold, boxing-style logo printed over the EU bleeding heart. As seasoned globetrotters, the designers also brought their personal experience to bear on the travel bag in supple black lambskin, equipping it with adjustable straps so it can be carried as a backpack as well as on the shoulder or in the hand. The leather line is completed by a mini tote with a removable shoulder strap and an ingenious card holder-cum-coin purse-cum-key reel on a lanyard, while a miniature cross-body bag is printed with the all-over heart and racehorse pattern.
The collaboration also extends to a capsule of ready-to-wear featuring –alongside the athleisure staples of a grey-marl hoodie, black sweatshirt and black and white tees printed with the “Been a CHAMP” or boxing logo designs – two unisex pieces borrowed from the boxing ring: black satin shorts and a matching kimono with a white tie belt. Labels on the shorts spotlight the collaboration’s key signatures, while the kimono is decorated with Longchamp racehorse and EU heart pins. Last but by no means least, a short-sleeved crew and drawstring pants in butter-soft black lambskin combine Longchamp’s leather goods heritage with EU’s contemporary fashion vision.
All the bags feature a witty allusion to the other EU in the form of a European Union number-plate label on the side, made up of the EU flag, an EU heart and the Longchamp reference for each format.