If you've ever stepped foot on a college campus, then you are familiar with Longchamp's Le Pliage bag, a nylon carry-all instantly identifiable by its leather straps and flap-top closure. Since launching in the 1970s, the foldable tote has been a mainstay in women's closets, as it is the perfect travel bag. But what happens when the most classic of shapes meets Shayne Oliver, wunderkind designer and founder of the cult menswear label Hood by Air? Well, to put it simply, things get interesting.
Today, Longchamp launched its collaboration with Oliver—a series of products beyond the bag, including leather goods, footwear, ready-to-wear, and garment bags. "The first thing that interested me with the project was the garment bag," Oliver told W. "From there, I began to think about how travel influenced me in my past collections and how I could bring that into the language of Longchamp via the graphic."
Another jumping-off point for the designer was the simple T-shirt; the perfect blank canvas to marry old and new. "We introduced a T-shirt style that speaks to the usage of the Longchamp graphic, and then added the handles from the iconic Le Pliage," he said. "In that way, we were able to mix a classic detail with a new idea."
Oliver took it one step further, creating what is undeniably the standout piece of the collection: a jacket featuring Le Pliage bags as sleeves. It's not for the faint of heart, but Oliver's devotees will dig the avant-garde design. For those looking for something a bit more traditional, he has also updated the bag itself, making it two bags in one and adding graphic slogans across the front. "The Double Le Pliage came from the idea of having a bag that was more personal, and having one bag that was more business," he said. "You know which side you are using by the graphic on the front. The Hiatus side is meant for having fun, and the other is more business. I was trying to make the Le Pliage consistent with this idea of the new world."
While the words emblazoned on the bag—"hiatus" and "realness"—may seem random at first glance, both have personal significance, Oliver explained. "Hiatus means ‘a gap’ or ‘a break.’ The Hiatus logo relates to the period when we began working on this collaboration," he said. "It was the right time for it to happen, so I felt like it was a great way of speaking about what was going on in my life—about needing to take a hiatus from the project I was working on and focus on where I was heading, which is this series of collaborations with brands that have great heritage and renowned craftsmanship, and putting my own spin on it. These bags are meant for the realness of life; it is less about having logos."
For those hoping to get their hands on the collection, which is sure to be a streetwear goldmine, the brand has opened a pop-up at its SoHo flagship in New York.