November 18, 2020
French fashion and leather goods label Longchamp is blurring the line between fantasy and reality against the romantic backdrop of Paris in a fresh campaign showcasing its spring/summer 2021 collection.
In a new short starring British actor Amber Anderson and French actor Mathilde Ollivier, the French brand presents a tale of two trendy young women who accidentally exchange bags in the whirlwind of a Parisian night. With its joie de vivre, the campaign adds a touch of excitement to the Longchamp label as it offers a window into the lives of Parisian women.
“This campaign showcases characteristics that we can all embrace right now,” said Kimmie Smith, cofounder of Athleisure Mag, New York. “It’s about how we as a people look after one another — especially those that we don’t know in acts of humanity.
“It also highlights Paris as a character,” Ms. Smith said.
A tale of two handbags
The short titled “Très Paris” is a collaboration between Longchamp and Los Angeles agency Fred & Farid, which was hired to create a new global brand platform for the 72-year old French label.
Directed by Lope Serrano, the centerpiece of the film, which borders on a music video, is its soundtrack: a new version of the old favorite “Il est cinq heures, Paris séveille” (translation: It’s five o’clock, Paris is waking up), sung by French singer-songwriter Clara Luciani.
Eight minutes in length, the film recounts the story of two young women who enjoy an adventure in Paris as the city is waking up. Both wear pieces from Longchamp’s upcoming spring/summer collection.
The short is a collaboration with the Los Angeles agency Fred & Farid
Très Paris opens with a shot of Ms. Anderson talking on her cell phone to someone back in London about the French. The film will be told through chapters, with titles such as "Conversations on Love" and "Fireworks."
“People say they’re snooty, but they’re not,” she opines. “They’re really nice.”
Standing at a piano in a dark room, she starts to type out the introduction to “It’s five o’clock, Paris is waking up”, declaring it a masterpiece. Moving to a new room, she finds an array of crystals and starts to play with a pyramid with the Eiffel tower within it.
The scene shifts and Ms. Ollivier, her more subdued and ethereal counterpart, is at a bar. She is talking in French to her white cat, Blanche, who is nestled in a Roseau bag.
“You’re going to be good tonight, OK?” she tells the cat. “But, yes, it’s true. You are always wise.”
In the next scene, Ms. Anderson is holding the same Roseau bag and conversing in English with a girlfriend about a love interest, who she has a picture of on her phone.
“It’s something with his earlobes,” she says, to which her friend responds, “I know exactly what you mean.” Meanwhile, in a parallel conversation, Ms. Ollivier is being asked by a friend why she dumped her latest love interest and she responds, “It was something with his earlobes.”
“Why is love so complicated?” Ms. Anderson and Ms. Ollivier both conclude in their separate chats at the same bar.
Ms. Ollivier moves on from boys to chatting about her restless cat with her pal. “One day, she will fly away and I will find her on the rooftops,” she says.
Five o’clock comes around and the parallel chats take a more surrealist twist, with both Ms. Anderson and Ms. Ollivier bowing out of the scene. “I’m out. I have cold feet,” Ms. Anderson tells her friend, looking down at her toes which are covered in fake snow.
Both Ms. Ollivier and Ms. Anderson grab their bags, which are sitting next to each other, and leave.
Outside, Ms. Ollivier meets a man with a mustache on a motorcycle, who is reading a book. She asks about his book and he says it is partly about two girls who get lost in the city.
“One is looking for hope, the other is looking for emotions,” he says. “And you finally see the two girls reunited and it all ends very well.”
He takes her on a ride to Boulevard Montparnasse and they stay out until the morning. She refuses his offer of a coffee in the end and they part ways.
Looking at her bag at the conclusion of her date, Ms. Ollivier becomes upset as Blanche is no longer there and she can only find a pyramid with the Eiffel tower within it. At the same time, Ms. Anderson opens her own bag, only to find the cat inside it.
Ms. Ollivier runs to a cafe where she confesses to the barista that she has lost her cat. Ms. Anderson enters the same cafe and stares at Ms. Ollivier, asking why she is crying.
When Ms. Ollivier heads to the bathroom, in the critical plot twist, Ms. Anderson studies her bag and realizes that they were swapped the previous night at the other bar. Ms. Anderson swaps the Roseau leather totes once again, leaving Blanche to be discovered by Ms. Ollivier before she heads to the door.
Through the short film, Longchamp is seizing on a classical style and remaining true to its roots by focusing on its hometown of Paris where it was founded in 1948 by Jean Cassegrain.
This has not always been the case, as the label had shifted towards a more casual aesthetic.
Last year, after appointing Kendall Jenner as a brand ambassador, the French label ventured to California to create a film starring the influencer and reality television star in her hometown of Los Angeles (see story). With Ms. Jenner’s help, the label also moved into the growth of streetwear and logo collections with the Longchamp LGP collection (see story)
In a similar embrace of pop culture, the maison recently teamed with Pikachu, the cheerful and world-famous yellow Pokémon, on a limited-edition collection of handbags ( see story)
With its striped shirts and elegant blouses, simplicity is on display in Longchamp’s latest campaign.
“I think that brands of this heritage are going back to basics,” Ms. Smith said. “I think that Longchamp is a brand that has iconic bags that are truly multigenerational as well as allowing people of various style aesthetics to wear them.”