Marie-Sabine Leclercq completed postgraduate studies at CELSA and holds a master’s degree in media sociology. Boasting twenty years’ experience in the luxury sector, she joined the Cassegrain family in December 2008 to head Longchamp’s Communication division.
1. Please describe the Longchamp brand?
It is a luxury brand and a family business that is still headed by the founding family today. It is based on craftsmanship expertise; it is sophisticated and elegant. Longchamp’s optimism reflects the personality of a woman who loves life. Longchamp helps her to add color to her life in several ways – through its collections and by suggesting that she view the world around her in a certain way.
Longchamp is true to the values and history of the brand. This is a brand that has been on the move since its beginnings, as well as showing movement in the creativity in its collections, its expression, its signature, its innovation.
It is this innovation that has driven the company over its history. When we launched Le Pliage Cuir in 2012 and this year the Le Pliage Heritage, we created a bridge between the successful nylon Le Pliage and the tradition of the company which lay in leather and the finest raw materials. The first bags that were launched in the 1950s were leather and the House’s first goods were leather smoking accessories – that heritage is important to us.
2. What words could summarize the brand, what are its values?
The key words of our brand are: leather, family, optimism, quality and creativity.
And main values of Longchamp are:
Luxury – in the materials that we use and the emotions that our collections evoke.
Innovation – in the creativity in our designs and our collections.
Craftsmanship – in the work of our artisans.
3. What are the specific requirements of a luxury brand?
Above all else, craftsmanship. Highly skilled artisans work in Longchamp’s workshops, creating iconic bags such as Le Pliage Héritage, Le Roseau Héritage, Le Légende…. Each bag can require up to 250 separate processes.
Craftsmanship is important, as is delivering a fantastic customer experience from the architecture of a store, to the way that it is laid out, the service that customers receive and the enjoyment that they then have as a result of using their purchase. Luxury brands have to deliver at every level.
We also need to get distribution right, making sure that our products are sold exactly the right way with a well-balanced retail approach between our own stores and multi brand stores that feature some of our collections. When we open a store of our own it is always a very strong statement because it embodies the essence of the brand, through the collections, merchandising, customer service, the artworks that have been commissioned. A new store is a very strong communication statement, and none more so than a flagship store on the Champs Elysees.
The house’s craftsmanship expertise and refinement will be displayed here in every way, in an elegant, modern setting. The brand’s heritage and its many facets will be showcased in a store that will have everything to its advantage: exceptional architectural elements and a legendary Parisian address!
4. How do you manage to stay true to these values in a constantly changing world?
We maintain the approach that we have to our products, while meeting our customers’ changing needs. The fact that our company is a family business is an important factor. It is easy for us to stay true to our convictions and the strategies that we have chosen, because we are the ones who decide our brand’s destiny. We can choose to be patient to allow the markets to develop and give customers the time to appreciate Longchamp and become loyal to it.
The house is increasingly international. It is very well known in France and our reputation is growing quickly everywhere else. The advertising campaigns play a major role in this, because they convey an enthusiastic and optimistic image of a brand on the move, full of life and energy, in line with our collections.
5. What types of women buy Longchamp products and why?
Longchamp is aimed at women all over the world. The Longchamp woman is energetic, active and sensitive to the world around her. She is able to multitask and has many different facets; she is different during the week and at the weekend. But she never loses her respect and her love for beautiful things, know-how and heritage. She is a woman who makes luxury part of her everyday life.
6. Is Longchamp an optimistic brand?
Longchamp’s optimism is embodied by a woman who is energetic and on the move. She lives life to the full and enjoys the lighter side of things. Longchamp brings color to her life in different ways – through its collections and its own attitudes.
7. What has been the effect of the new advertising campaign?
Our brand is seen worldwide as modern, fashionable, for a woman who is active and full of energy. When compared to other brands where a woman might be very static, seeking status, the Longchamp woman is chic, dynamic, self-assured, modern, a little edgy.
8. Why Alexa Chung?
We choose a face according to the values that she conveys. Longchamp luxury fits in perfectly with the everyday life of a working woman, full of energy and freshness, who loves fashion without being its slave. Alexa perfectly embodies all these things. She is the thirty-something woman who speaks to all women looking to find a style. Especially because she is not just a model. She has an attitude, which is both incredibly fashionable and incredibly stylish, and the music world in which she works is a source of inspiration for her. Alexa is beautiful and intelligent. She has energy and confidence. Her enchanting gaze, which is very strong and very present, gives the campaign a lot of personality.