The Women When women come together as creators and consumers
This is the fourth time the French company Longchamp has chosen to show in New York, the location a sun-drenched space on the 25th floor of a Ninth avenue building.
The white carpet and silvery mirrored insets on the floor added to the elevated feeling. For guests who arrived early, that is to say on time for the 1 pm show – which as expected began closer to 1:30 – were treated to solicitous waiters offering goblets of champagne and teeny, petite grilled cheese nibbles.
Throughout the venue pre-show, clusters of men in good suits spoke in hushed tones. It was the kind of scene where you would guess the important business of building the business, was taking place. But it was the spirit of women that powerfully and imperceptibly infused the afternoon gathering.
Women were a major backdrop to whatever else seemed at the forefront during the show. Longchamp must fuse their heritage French luxury brand with today’s woman. Of this mission, the company seems clear. For Fall 2020, Creative Director Sophie Delafontaine, a granddaughter of the founder of Longchamp, staked her collection on the power of women, drawing inspiration from two of France’s most powerful female icons.
This forms a satisfying story juxtaposing French Sixties and Seventies movie stars with Kendall Jenner, the Instagram model and reality star, who has been a face of Longchamp for two years. This season Kebede, an ambassador of another kind – for the World Health Organization’s Maternal, newborn and Child Health program – was a powerful presence on the runway. She was joined by one of her contemporaries, Carolyn Murphy, 45, once one of the industry’s top-earning models walking the show.
And then there was Pat McGrath sweeping out of the building with assistants in tow – who has recently become known outside of the formerly inbred fashion family, as one of the most powerful global image-makers and now a major beauty entrepreneur. These women were brought together wittingly or unwittingly to tell a story of a brand.
If harnessed it’s a movie that will surely see box office success.
The Jeremy Scott x Longchamp collaboration with the aid of public relations iconoclast Kelly Cutrone, did much to catapult the brand into another circle of relevance.
Opportunity beckons to go even further. Marketing without a valuable product or service has a four-letter word attached that we are all attuned to. It’s called hype.
Delafontaine’s solid, well-thought-out collection, assures that this will not happen. The last thing fashion needs is another luxury brand flameout.
The designer put the collection on solid footing with luxurious yet sporty bomber jackets, enormous puffer coats, and gauzy dresses in fall’s warmest traditional tones including forest green, jet black, and deep mustard.
When French movie stars Catherine Deneuve and Romy Schneider, are your muses, you cannot get it wrong. Looking to the heyday of the 1970s, a time when American women entered the workforce in droves and had been liberated by the pill, the collection vibrated with respect and understanding of women and their power.
Finishing each look with knee-high boots with a serendipitous ball and chain – well one could be reading too much into that – but the cute, walkable boots brought a whole new meaning to the phrase traditionally applied in a derogatory fashion to women. Women were stomping all over the ball and chain.
The future of Longchamp lies in continuing to make women collaborators and shapers of its brand story as few French houses –steeped in the actuality and legacy of the male designer as a dictator, Dom, and auteur, have been able to do.