Monday, December 3, 2007

My Favorite Mistake, part II (My Next-Favorite Mistake)

Inside the Conciergerie in Paris. Has nothing whatsoever to do with this post, but it's a pretty photo, non?

I have raved here before about the wondrous qualities of the Longchamp Le Pliage bags. The red one I have is my default airline travel carry-on, but for some reason after my flight to London this time I decided I wanted something little bit larger. This decision was arrived at after a long and complicated (and probably faulty) reasoning process the details of which I will spare you, but the time I got to Paris I'd formed a game plan.

The first place I hit (retail-wise) in Paris was Galeries Lafayette, and they have a Longchamp boutique there (Parisian department stores have, along with their regular goods, stores within stores of popular brands), so I did some reconnoitering. There was weekender-sized bag that would have been a good carry-on, but it only seemed to have the short handles. I like a bag that I can sling over my shoulder, especially if I'm going to be toting it through an airport, so I held off and later on slipped into the Longchamp flagship store on the rue Faubourg St. Honoré. Which is actually much more fun even than Galeries Lafayette. On a leisurely 30-minute walk on that street you can find boutiques for just about every label you've ever heard of (John Galliano, Hermes, Longchamp, Brooks Brothers, YSL, Louboutin, Mulberry, Prada, Miu Miu, Lanvin, and a bunch more I can't even remember) as well as a lot you probably haven't. It's a lovely place for window shopping, believe me.

I walked around a bit and fondled (in a wholesome and perfectly acceptable way, I swear!) all the lovely things, and was greeted by the very same SA who sold me my red bag (and then on a later trip, another one -- blue -- that I bought for my mother). I held up the bag I was eyeing and asked (in French, thankyouverymuch, I'm just so proud of myself) if they had that bag with longer handles. She regretfully informed me that they did not and when my face fell, she smiled like the very wise cat who had a canary to share, held up her finger and said, "
Un moment," and then produced this wonder:

Yeahh, buddy. That's what I'm talkin' about...

This is the perfect thing to take on an airplane. Why perfect? Because you can put your handbag inside it and still have room for assorted onboard necessities, like a bunch of reading material and a nice wrap to use as a blanket when it gets chilly. Because the shoulder strap actually comes off, and you could tuck it into the bag for stowage. Because Longchamp bags are incredibly sturdy and well-made, and yet they weigh
almost nothing themselves. And in the case of this particular marvel, because of this:

Yep. That seam around the middle is actually a zipper, and zzzzzzip! You pop that bad boy open and you get this:

It makes the bag about another six inches or so taller, which translates into goodness knows how much volume (no, I wasn't paying attention in high school) and the bag goes from a wonderful carry-on to the bag you can pack all your stuff into for, say, a three-day weekend of museum-ing and shopping while you visit friends in Dallas. And then when you're done, you fold it up into this:

(Lipstick shown for scale, as they say.)

Uh-huh. You want one now, doncha? And who can blame you -- the thing is genius. You can get one here (it's item #1911 089 in the Le Pliage line). Although I recommend getting one in on the home turf in Paris if you can swing it because A) Longchamp goods are some of the very few things I've yet encountered which are actually cheaper in France than the States and B) you'll be in Paris. Which makes everything better.

Photos: Style Spy

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1 comment:

blackbird said...

Damn it.
Now I DO want one.