Mary Katrantzou Goes Long for Longchamp

Bag champs Longchamp has collaborated with Mary Katrantzou, an emerging London-based designer for a range of printed tote bags. “Growing up, Longchamp to me was a brand with a great heritage, but a brand that was also accessible, something you could carry without feeling it was taking you over,” says Katrantzou. “For me, this was a wonderful opportunity—my first collaboration on this scale and also the chance to do something I had never done before, namely engineering a print around a bag. I wanted to create something really special.”

A graduate of Central Saint Martins, the British Fashion Award winner counts Alexa Chung, Anna Dello Russo and Keira Knightley as fans. Known for her whimsical prints, she infuses her innovative style into the collection. Inspired by Asian temples and flower parades, Katrantzou focused on an “East Meets West” theme. “It started with Sophie [Delafontaine] sending me a folder full of images she was using as inspiration for Longchamp’s Spring 2012 collection,” says Katrantzou. “There were the color ways she was working on and lots of beautiful pictures of Southeast Asia—rivers, rice fields, mostly the natural environment. That started me thinking of how I would approach the theme of East meets West. That theme also tied in with my own Autumn/Winter 2011 collection, which I was working on at the time, and which was inspired by the opulent interiors of Diana Vreeland or the Duchess of Windsor.”

Katrantzou created two special-edition tote bags and an exclusive print for the Le Pliage line. This collection will be available Jan. 23 at Colette. Next up for Katrantzou? A collaboration with Topshop on a collection of dresses due out this February.