Longchamp creative director Sophie Delafontaine showed her latest collection during Paris Fashion Week today, looking inwards to draw inspiration from her family’s iconic racehorse logo, and outwards to seek ideas from the work of French interior designer Pierre Paulin and the type of chic local city slicker who never ceases to influence her. The result—a quintessential Fall Winter ’21 offering that included padded gilets in lambskin leather, cashmere tops, safari-style jackets, and minis, all teamed with the type of reliable accessories and footwear we know and love. Plus: bucket hats, which are sure to go down a treat in the 8th Arrondissement and beyond! The Daily caught up with Delafontaine moments after the show has streamed across the world to get the lowdown.
Tell us about the theme—how is it close to your heart?
The theme is really about a Parisian woman: the true Parisian woman: not the one on the postcard! It’s the woman I’m passing every day, so really it’s about authenticity. I was also inspired by horses and horse riders, which are in the Longchamp roots. What I particularly liked with the horse is that it has a lot of energy, so much so that when it’s galloping it’s almost flying. It’s also a strong animal with a positive attitude: the horse is always going forward and I think at this moment, we need that same powerful energy to move forward. I’m also inspired this season by Pierre Paulin, a French architect from the 1950s. In his work, I appreciate that the shapes are strong, but there is a lot of softness, roundness, and cocooning too. He showed that we can be strong, with a lot of character and self confident, but you can be warm and smooth too.
How have you found designing in the past year? Has it been a creative outlet or has it been difficult at times?
It was not really difficult to create, for me creating is my life and my passion. It’s what I love to do so it’s always a pleasure and always a process. What was difficult were some of the practical issues…which are not as important. Sometimes I had to try on the shoes myself! But it was original and different, and not really an issue. I think that the main change was the way to present the collection; how to present without someone seeing it or touching it in real life. But I’ve loved the exercise of the digital show and it’s been a great experience. It’s allowed me to meet new people, to work in a different way, and meet new teams. I like the idea that with a video, you can also transmit an emotion and go deep into detail. You still can create an atmosphere.
Do you miss live shows?
I’m missing the excitement of the live events. I miss the moment where you say, ‘Go!’ and everything happens. At the same time, I want to stay positive because I don’t know what will happen in the next six months. My job is to create and change. I know that whatever happens, I will react and create and think in a different way…that’s my job!
What’s new this season?
I like that the silhouettes are all different characters. Regarding the bags, I like what we have done, especially with the Roseau and the Brioche. I like the idea of having the tiny versions, mixing the sizes, and I like the idea of mixing authentic leather and resin. I like to play with the proportions. It’s the same with the shoes: the boots with the heel are feminine and have a lot of sensuality, but then the loafers are more masculine. It’s the mix that I love.
How has attitude of the Parisian woman changed since the pandemic?
Life has changed, but in a good way, for us. At Longchamp, we always pay a lot of attention to quality, authenticity, and beautiful materials, and the way that something is made. I think, as a family business, we are very conscious—of the factory, the people, the sustainability. I want to create bags that you can give to your daughter, or be happy to still wear in 10 years time. Now, we all need to be cautious. We can have fun and enjoy, but at the same time, we need to change things.
What does the Parisian woman remain hopeful about?
People want to go back to the restaurants and have cool moments with friends. They want to enjoy life again! Everyone will understand that life is about being happy and having fun in enjoying the important moments—but I do hope we can change our mindset a little bit too.