Three words sum up the Longchamp London flagship store on Bond Street: family owned, passionate, inspiring.
On 1 March the MA Fashion Retail Management group visited the Longchamp store on New Bond Street. We were welcomed by the store manager Monika and Paul, the general manager of Longchamp UK.
Paul was very passionate about Longchamp; explaining every aspect of the brand and the store. He explained in detail about the store design, from having a customised elevator to having “one of the best bathrooms on New Bond Street”! It was also mentioned that although Longchamp had many points of sale within London, every store had a unique design element. The New Bond Street store included a three-storey mural painting by Maya Hayuk which filled the inside wall. The design of the floors were developed by French designers Carbondale who used materials such as stone, glass, steel and leather to complete a luxurious environment.
Paul also talked about the importance of the layout of the products and how his team try to utilise as much space as possible. Small leather goods such as wallets were grouped together in larger numbers in order to show the diverse colourways whilst the larger products such as the handbags were carefully positioned with more space in order to maintain the luxurious feel of the store. Also interesting was the use of space to present one of the most iconic Longchamp products, the ‘Le Pliage Nylon’. Having a diagonal format allows Longchamp to present all the different colourways and sizes of the handbag whilst creating space for additional stock in between the spaced created by the design.
Longchamp manages to maintain the fashionable and luxury element within their brand by offering seasonal designs for their core products. This is also helped by collaborating with Jeremy Scott to release a limited edition of travel bags. Customers can also create their own ‘Le Pliage’ through the personalisation service which is available online.
When it came to the questions, many students asked about the different elements of the brand from manufacturing and distribution through to its branding and internationalisation strategies. Paul very much emphasised how Longchamp was a family owned business and therefore had the freedom to carefully choose every action of the brand. He was very conscious about controlling the distribution of the product in order to maintain the luxury brand positioning. Most of the manufacturing was still done in France which helped reinforce this image of Longchamp.
The visit was a great opportunity to interact with industry professionals and to learn about the different elements of Longchamp, from the design and layout of the store through to the overall retail management processes.