25 Aug 2015

The Longchamp Pliage: Some Things Never Get Old

alexa chung for longchamp, 2014 vicki archer

Some things never get old.

Just like the handbag from Maison Longchamp, the Pliage.

I remember my first pliage bag so well.

So many years ago I found myself gazing longingly into the window of the Longchamp store in Aix-en-Provence. The boutique was situated on the Cours Mirabeau, one of the loveliest avenues in Provence.

France was very much a novelty, an unfamiliar destination for me back then and to find myself with time to spare wandering around Aix, soaking up the beauty and listening intently to the sounds of an unfamiliar language was a dream come true. I can still sense my excitement.

That time in Aix-en-Provence was not the day I bought my pliage.

I went back to the shop the next day after much deliberation. My indecision was not over the bag, for I had wanted one for as long as I could remember. The pliage is the perfect travel companion and twenty years later I never leave home without one. No, my hesitation was fear.

Well anxiety more than fear.

The nervousness of expressing myself in a language I had very little experience with. I could introduce myself, rattle off where I lived and where I was born, recite a few facts and that was about it. The thought of asking to see a bag and chose a colour was beyond me. I laugh as I write this; to think I was so timid and lacking in confidence. I was.

Fortunately women and handbags can’t be kept apart for too long and I finally plucked up the courage to enter the store.

The rest is history.

I bought my first pliage.

alexa chung for longchamp, 2014 vicki archer


These days I am many Longchamp pliage bags later.

I have given them to my daughters and when they travel they never leave home without them. I notice women all over the world of all generations use them as handbags and as carry on travel bags they must be the number one success story.

I have recently graduated to the leather version.

Love, love, love.

alexa chung for longchamp, 2014alexa chung for longchamp, 2014 vicki archer


This season I am crushing on the shade, pebble. The leather is as soft as can be, I can still fold the leather pliage, wear it cross body style and carry it as a tote.  The leather pliage is beautifully made and I am very tempted to have it monogramed. Either on the back of the bag at the top, three discreet little letters would look very cute or three slightly larger initials in the right hand corner on the front.

I haven’t quite decided yet.

Of course I would like one in each colour, especially the cherry one from Nordstrom, to add to the collection but pebble is a super practical colour and the right place to start. xv

The Leather Pliage: My Latest Crush


le pliage cuir leather pliage

images, alexa chung for longchamp


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Karen Sue

I saw this bag in the thrift store and thought to myself that it was so cool. I could tell it was made well and I loved the burnt orange color for fall. So I started looking at it closer and saw the made in France tag, I knew it was a good one. I had never heard of Longchamp before! It was $1.91!!! And it’s real not a copy or fake! I have since found a small leather long strap one that is perfect for winter also for $1.91! They just didn’t know what they had here in Florida…


That is truly a “fabulous find” story..
I hope you go back regularlya nds ee what else is there… :)


What an amazing bargain!
I too often look in the windows of that Longchamp store in the Cours Mirabeau! I always check out the latest colours there but wait till Paris to buy, particularly at the June sales. The standard bags are rarely reduced but the seasonal colours often are.
While the leather bags are beautiful, I prefer the nylon because they’re so much lighter yet still very strong. I always travel with one. Much more secure than the LV Neverful or the Goyard as they zip right up so contents don’t fall out when travelling. So practical and chic at the same time. Love the way it folds up when empty too.
So difficult to imagine a time when you were lacking in confidence, Vicki. You always seems so poised and sure. Best wishes, Pamela


Absolutely. But one of the benefits of getting older is no longer worrying about what people think. I look on life now as a great adventure and an opportunity to make the most of each day, including enjoying talking to French sales staff.

They mostly are very committed to their jobs and products and love to tell you about them. They also love it if they can see you appreciate them too – and the décor and styling of their boutiques. Sometimes I end up hearing their life stories.

I always apologise and tell them my French is awful (Desole .. etc) – and they’re almost always kind and respond that No, it’s really very good – not true – they really are being kind. Best wishes, Pamela

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen

Thank you for introducing this bag to me. I love them too. While we were shopping in Avignon one day this year, I splurged on three (in different sizes), one being a very similar shade to the cherry. I was amazed at the savings of buying them in France as opposed to the US. Just another reason to visit France :)


to want something nice overcomes every language problem. I have my Longchamp in every handbag so I can never come into a dilemma to carry
my unexpected shopping home. A practical design which get never out of


Vicki I cannot believe Karen Sue’s amazing find! I adore Longchamp!
The Arts by Karena
Artist Alex Katz


Nothing as classic, beautiful and practical as the Pliage bag! I have two of the nylon bags, one with a long handle and one with short. The have served me very well for many years and show virtually little wear. The quality is excellent, with amazing color selections and sizes.
At some point, when my budget allows, I would like to purchase the shoulder strap style in leather.

Sandra Sallin

Oh my goodness. I just didn’t scroll down to see the comments. I must say I think I prefer the nylon. I love the colors. I’m finished with black but would love maybe red, purple, or gunmetal. But which size do you get. Large or the other??


I like the large for travelling but the medium for everyday… that’s not a very good answer is it??
The leather pliage is a great size for everyday… for travelling I always take the biggest nylon version… :)

Karen in VA

I have worn out so many of these bags in so many colors (I think Aubergine is my favorite) …. I have loved them from first sight. Once in Paris we bought several, as the sale at the main store was unbelievable. I have both of the back pack versions and never go to an antique fair without one.

I like the small one too …. Iconic

Karen in VA

Anita Rivera

YOU have just helped me decide what bag to get for my good camera; on vacation this summer, I toted my Canon to Carmel, California, and I took it with me everywhere, in an UGLY, large and conspicuous video camera bag! I surely looked like a tourist with an expensive camera, and a lovely lady who is a photographer suggested I get a nice bag to look “normal!” THIS IS THE BAG. Off to Nordstroms!

Karen in Oxford

This bag is right up my street. I’ve actually never been a fan of the nylon version but would happily buy one in leather and pebble is perfect for my needs.
Vicki, I’ve often wondered how you came to be fluent in French. I assumed you had French at school but I suppose you became fluent by living amongst the locals which is the best way to learn anything really.
We’re in Mougins on our family holiday at present and as we only come to France once a year my French is very rusty and takes a few days to attune my ear, whereas my husband falls into it very easily. I’ve been quite lazy and rely on him but when he’s not there I get by and the locals down here are very patient with me. My accent is not very good, still a faint Australian accent which slips through and they start speaking to me in English! I still make an effort and I find the conversational French more interesting than ‘French lessons’ but I should pay more attention to my DuoLingo app!

Wendy Shippee

I have not traveled without a Pliage in at least 15 years. This is the perfect carry- on. Bags come and go but, this one is a keeper…and it is indestructible!


I am so glad you wrote this. Not because of the bag, though it is fabulous, but because I am still dealing with French-language anxiety. I’ve lived here for 3 years, and do pretty well, but I still get so nervous, and yes, there are stores I haven’t ventured in to because I’m just too nervous. It’s embarrassing, but seeing your assessment of the behavior in print made it unbearable–how can I be that person?? I contacted a tutor, and start lessons this week. Thank you.


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