Longchamp makes New York debut to celebrate 70 years

March 22, 2019 0 By HearthstoneYarns

Longchamp decamped across the Atlantic on
Saturday to make their New York Fashion Week debut and celebrate their 70th
anniversary by looking to the future, fronted by new brand ambassador
Kendall
Jenner.

Guests were invited to the World Trade Center, where the Manhattan
skyline
provided a dazzling backdrop to a collection summed up as 1970s glamor,
California spirit and Parisian elegance.

The French staple, best known by millions around the world for the
iconic
Pliage bag, is building on its leather goods heritage by highlighting its
ready-to-wear, sunglasses and footwear lines.

Their first fashion-week runway show comes hot on the heels of
opening a
new boutique on New York’s legendary Fifth Avenue in May, and the selection
of
supermodel Jenner as their new ambassador.

They are poised to open a new boutique in Beverly Hills — hence the
California spirit, which Jenner herself evokes, as does model-of-the-moment
Kaia Gerber, 17, who walked the runway.

Jenner sat front row, sporting the Longchamp Gladiators on her
slender
pins, next to Kate Moss, who was the face of Longchamp for eight years and
in
turn sat next to Indian actress Priyanka Chopra.

“It’s a way of expressing the international development of the
brand,”
Longchamp CEO Jean Cassegrain, 53, told AFP by telephone of the family
firm’s
decision to show in New York, on the third day of fashion week.
Cassegrain is the grandson of the founder. Sister Sophie Delafontaine is
creative director, brother Olivier heads up operations in the United States
and their 81-year-old father is still company president.

‘Vote Cynthia!’

There were lots of fringed tops, shorts and mini-skirts in suede,
gladiator
sandals, and Ikat-style prints on long skirts and dresses.
“Twenty-five years ago, fashion and leather goods were separate
sectors,”
Cassegrain said. “The bag is now a fashion item, and labels also have to be
fashion labels.”

Otherwise Saturday saw a return to politics at New York Fashion Week
after
having taken something of a backseat after the early days of liberal
outrage
over the Donald Trump presidency.

Christian Siriano used his runway show to endorse Cynthia Nixon, the
left-leaning former “Sex and the City” actress campaigning to become New
York’s first woman governor.

Nixon, whose effort to oust two-term incumbent Andrew Cuomo will do
or die
in Thursday’s Democratic primary, sat in the front row.

Each guest was given a Vote for Cynthia leaflet, there were special
thanks
to her in the notes for “all you are doing for New York” and Siriano came
out
for a bow at the end in a Nixon T-shirt.

Schlepping out to deepest Brooklyn and sitting on soggy benches in a
downpour might not have been the fashion pack’s idea of fun.

‘Black is beautiful’

But those who made the journey were wowed by the burgeoning talent of
up
and coming label Pyer Moss, their all-black models, band and gospel choir
in
an historic black setting for his latest show.

“I wanted to show what African American leisure looks like,” designer
Kerby
Jean-Raymond told reporters backstage. “We just wanted to make that
modernized, simple and young.”

In addition to his collaboration with Reebok, the silhouette for the
Pyer
Moss woman was sophisticated, flowing gowns, waterfall hemlines and
kaftan-inspired eveningwear in white, pale pink and yellow.

Stunning prints made out of portraits by painter Derrick Adams were
blown
up onto organza, jacquard and pleats, and a cocktail dress studded with
200,000 Swarovski crystals.

“It’s people that look like my friends and people who are constantly
overlooked in normal bookings,” Jean-Raymond told reporters when asked
about
his all-black casting.

“I want to show that black can be beautiful and not just always
sensationalized, not always tragic, not always just like for your
entertainment. It can exist on the sole purpose of us being us.”

The show was held at the Weeksville Heritage Center, which preserves
one of
the first 19th century free African American communities.

The choir, dressed in white robes, belted out a stirring soundtrack
to
rapturous applause, deliberately chosen and opening with “Be Real Black For
Me”.(AFP)

Photos: catwalkpictures.com, Longchamp SS19