French brand Longchamp has announced the death of its president, Philippe Cassegrain, who spent 60 years at the family-run fashion company. The 83-year-old died as a result of COVID-19 complications.
Cassegrain, the son of Longchamp’s founder Jean Cassegrain, is notably the designer of the famous and omnipresent Le Pliage bag. According to social media posts from the brand, Cassegrain was instrumental in helping his father expand the business to Asia, Africa, and the U.S. in the 1950s. In the 1970s, he introduced travel bags in nylon and leather to the company’s offering and in the 1980s, he turned his attention to designing more feminine and chic handbags, along with his wife Michèle Cassegrain. His most iconic design, Le Pliage, came about in 1993. To date, the company has sold more than 30 million units of the famed accessory.
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Today, business is still ran by the Cassegrain family. Philippe’s son Jean is chief executive officer while his daughter, Sophie Delafontaine, is creative director. (Alongside accessories, the brand also offers ready to wear designed by Delafontaine, and usually showcases its wares during New York Fashion Week.) Philippe’s younger son, Olivier, also leads the American boutiques. His grandsons, Adrien and Hector, have also recently joined the company—as transformation director and U.K. general manager, respectively.
Announcing the sad news, Longchamp said: “Just like the brand logo, a rider on a galloping horse, Philippe Cassegrain was a tireless creative with insatiable curiosity. Every season, he worked to renew the men’s bags and luggage collections. Coming every day to the office, exchanging over and over with the workshops, passionate drawer, inventor, he injected smart and fair spirit in all its creations.”