Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bags and Baggage

This is my Longchamp Le Pliage bag:

It's a fantastic fold-uppable travel bag made of very sturdy nylon with beautiful leather trim. I've known of the existence of these things for years, but when I went to Paris for the first time I realized they are nearly ubiquitous -- it seemed like every Parisian woman I saw was carrying one. After I bought one, I realized why: they're brilliant. This thing is like the clown car of bags: you cannot believe how much stuff you can get into it. It's genius. It instantly became my carry-on bag for air travel: you can fit all your traveling needs: potions & lotions (in less-than-one-ounce containers, sealed in a ziplock!), your makeup, antihistamines or nausea medicine to knock you out so that you sleep through most of the flight, your iPod, a couple of energy bars & pieces of fruit to offset the nearly-toxic qualities of typical airline food, a neck pillow, a cardigan, some books & (fashion) magazines, a bottle of water (bought AFTER you clear security, thanks very much), and a partridge in a pear tree. It was also great for wandering around Paris itself, happily swallowing the odd perfume purchase and Eiffel Tower-shaped trinket, plus a palmier from Ladurée to take back to the hotel for a late-night nibble. It folds up nice & neat:

and manages to be chic and functional all at once. How many items in the world can you say
that about? My red one is the "Sac Large," which measures about 19" x 12", and I have the long handle drop. You can order them online from Longchamp, but even more exciting, you can customize them -- choose the colors of nylon, the hardware, and even have your initials embossed in the leather. Of course, I'm dying for a customized one now...

They sell them at a few different places here in the states, including Nordstrom & Saks. (What I
really suggest, though, is going to Paris and buying one there. I've never felt so chic and in-the-know in my entire life as when I strolled down the rue Saint-Honoré with my Longchamp shopping bag in my hand. I stopped and had a glass of wine at a café in the Palais Royal gardens, with my bag cuddled up next to my feet, just to extend the moment. Oooooooh, November can't get here soon enough...)

They have
a few on sale on the website right now, in seasonal colors. I can't recommend these strongly enough -- with summer here, everyone needs a good, sturdy, non-Disney-character-embossed totebag for beaches & picnics & vacations, and what with the dollar slowly making its way into the Inner Circles of Economic Hell, they aren't going to get any cheaper any time soon.

Longchamp makes absolutely stunning leather goods. (Check out their website
here, although be warned about the slightly annoying music that accompanies.) Their bags are not cheap, but they're not overly trendy, either. They make the sort of beautiful, classic bag you can carry for years and years, not worrying about if it's "last season."

See? That is a bag you could carry absolutely forever. So fab.
That being said, here's the little beauty that inspired me to talk about Longchamp in the first place:

This is called the Legende and it was supposedly inspired/co-designed by Kate Moss. Much as I don't usually trust the design instincts of cokeheads, I really, really love this bag. It's a beaut, and evidently it has a bright red lining. (Ms. Moss' contribution. Much easier to find things, like your stash, when the lining of your bag is a bright color.) It's supposed to be available in July, and it looks like it's going to be going for around a cool $1400, so I don't suppose I'll be picking one up, but it did make me go "ooh."
For now I'll have to make do with my Pliage (which means "fold" en francais, by the way) and dreams of Paris. They've gotten me this far...

Photos: Style Spy, bagshop.com, Longchamp.com

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