Longchamp is a French luxury leather goods company, founded in Paris in 1948 by Jean Cassegrain. Jean Cassegrain created the world's first luxury leather-covered pipes and then extended them to small pieces of leather such as wallets, passport covers etc. Longchamp introduced the first female handbag in 1971, and became one of France's leading leather goods manufacturers. With the business the true breakthrough arrived with the use of nylon. In the 1970s, Longchamp manufactured a range of leather and nylon cloth luggages. Unlike the overweight suitcases that were widely sold at the time, for the first time, luggage was lightweight. The innovation prompted the company to manufacture a popular worldwide women's handbag: Le Pliage, back a few decades. Items from the firm include the innovative women's foldable handbag "Le Pliage." The handbag was an instant sensation and continues to be the business ' best-selling product. The signature style of Le Pliage, rooted in nylon, has been re-thought out and re-invented in various sizes, designs, colours and fabrics. Today, the company produces and imports a wide variety of luxury items, including leather and fabric handbags, luggage, jewellery, travel parts, fashion accessories and a "ready-to-wear" collection of women's designer clothing. The company is doing business with nearly 1,500 retail stores in 80 countries. The house is now privately owned and run by the founding Cassegrain family. Cassegrain was convinced by Longchamp's popularity in leather-covered pipes that the company's future lies in diversifying and expanding its product portfolio to include small leather items, passport covers, wallets, belts and other men's leather accessories. Earlier in the early 1950s he had been prospecting and dealing on both continents. He hired an export agent, and his products started to be exported. Jean Cassegrain noticed that women were more interested with the handbags as the business expanded. Longchamp introduced the first women's handbag in 1971, by reworking a toilet case and adding a back strap and two flaps. The company was the first to make nylon bags. Philippe Cassegrain sketched a series of nylon khaki and leather pockets in the 1970's. This set was an alternative to huge suitcases, which became a major success. Philippe Cassegrain also invented the Xtra-Bag, a pack which folded to a quarter of its height and slipped into a single jar. The Xtra-bag was the forerunner to the Le Pliage handbag produced in 1993.1993 which was a turning point in Longchamp's history. In 1993, Longchamp CEO Philippe Cassegrain personally created what would become the company's most famous handbag: Le Pliage, meaning to ' cover ' in French. The Le Pliage is a handbag that folds into a distinctive trapezoidal form, evoking an envelope image. Philippe Cassegrain decided to construct a functional yet stylish fold-up bag; Over the years, Longchamp has branched the company's artistic path into handbags and wallets, men's and women's luxury accessories, women's "ready-to-wear" garments and a collection of shoes Sophie handles. Sophie Delafontaine is responsible for creating and developing the labels around the clothing, leatherwear, and company lines. The company is known for other handbags as well as the case of Le Pliage, such as the canvas of Veau Foulonné, the template of LM-printing, the Gatsby, the Legende, the Cosmos and the Gloucester. In the 1950s and 1960s Longchamp's products appeared in French cinema, and particularly in Jean Gabin's films. The relationship of the brand with fashion started in the 1970s when the renowned franco-russian artist Serge Mendjisky launched a limited edition series of bags featuring a pattern. In 1971 he was adding patchwork leather to pockets. Through this breakthrough, Longchamp is one of the first leather goods companies to enter the market by partnering with well-known celebrities. Since then they have been working with other designers to create special pieces and installations in shops. Longchamp initiated the first collaboration with independent musician, Thomas Heatherwick, in 2004. Heatherwick next designed the best-selling Zip Case, a long zipper handbag. The success of the Zip Bag has led to Heatherwick's design of the Longchamp flagship store in New York City.