Wednesday, September 28, 2011

'KEEP ON RIDING' - LONGCHAMP

Audrey Marnay draped around a very nice Norton...
Founded in 1948, Longchamp of France is best known for its nifty (and very much copied) 'Le Pliage' bags, made of vinyl with leather handles, which roll up into a tight cylinder to pack inside a suitcase, and unroll to hold all that extra stuff you bought on your vacation, as a carry-on bag.  Like Dunhill of England, Longchamp started out making accessories for smokers (pipe covers, tobacco pouches), but by the 1950s they'd expanded into other leather goods, scarves, etc.  After the massive success of 'Le Pliage' (introduced in 1993), the company expanded into the high-end leather goods and clothing business, with collaborations with the likes of Kate Moss and Tracy Emin bringing attention to the brand.

This Fall, they've launched an ad campaign in print, web, and stores, featuring French model Audrey Marnay on a beautiful Norton Commando with Dunstall double front disc brakes and a long-range Gus Kuhn petrol tank.  The Longchamp website features an interactive video game, in which the viewer take the handlebars of a late model Triumph Bonneville (sadly, not the Norton!) on various trips through and around Paris, attempting to find mysterious Audrey and her new handbag. Pity Audrey doesn't ride the Commando wearing her lovely new gear, nor will you find tasty Britbikes gracing a Longchamp retail establishment (I checked in London and Paris).
Nice bike!  Alloy rims, performance upgrades...in the 'making of' video, the Norton logo is white, but the print ads have blacked out our favorite Vampiric font
You know it already, but fashion houses have discovered vintage motorcycles are cool, beautiful, and trés chic. In the September issue of Vogue, you'll see Longchamp, Ralph Lauren, Dolce and Gabbana, etc, using old bikes in their ads, but while fashion houses love adding kinetic excitement with vintage wheels, long-term collaborations between bikes and couture houses are rare. The likes of Dunhill and Chanel, while using 'branded' vintage bikes briefly in advertising (and in Dunhill's case, actually selling a few very tasty Patrick Godet/Dunhill Egli-Vincents), such a love affair never seems to last.  Maybe its the oil leaks.
Please ride this motorcycle.  The new 'Balzane' handbag is supposed to be the star of the show, but I'll take the bike...
And of course, a Ruby helmet is a must for every moto-fashion shoot!

9 comments:

Vintage-RiderCycleWorks said...

Obviously people of Very Good Taste!

GuitarSlinger said...

Funny how one minute you're the arm pit of Society and the next you ARE Society

The positives here being a better public image for M/C's

The negative being far too many Fashionistas will now go buy classic and classy M/C's ( I'm a huge fan of the Godet Egli Vincents and keep my eyes peeled for a used one ) which will send the prices thru the roof and right out of the hands of riders .

Saw this happen with Arch Top guitars ( finally had to sell my D'Aquisto when its value exceeded that of my car / e.g. $40K + and was no longer worth risking to play gigs with ) and its a guarantee it'll happen with M/C's as well , so get out there and buy your dream bike before the Rubes drive the prices to the Moon .

Anyone aware of a Used Godet Egli Vincent in the States ?

The Vintagent said...

This is an old saw, having been expressed since the price of a Brough topped £100 in 1957. Prices for the best and rarest will go sky high, but prices for high-production machines, like Commandos and Bonnevilles, will remain relatively flat. Sure, they'll go up and down with the economy and 'bubbles', but there will be no flood of fashionistas clamoring for Commandos, and prices won't go through the roof.

There is in fact a huge glut of old bikes on the market, far too many for the number of actual riders, that's why so many enthusiasts have 6 bikes in their garage. If demand were higher, owning multiple bikes wouldn't be so common...

We should welcome anyone looking to get involved with Vintage, and support genuine interest. Otherwise, I fear our numbers will continue shrinking.

M Ross L said...

There is what appears to be a speedo in headlight model bonneville on the set at the 0:42 second mark. I better the Creative Director sat her on the bonne and felt it was all wrong for the shot, but the company developing the game weren't give the clue.

The Vintagent said...

I think you're correct; there IS a 60's Triumph on the shoot, but clearly, the Norton won the day. Sexier by far...although I doubt the game developers could tell the difference!

Anonymous said...

Interesting, very ironic and somewhat hypocritical on the part of Longchamp. Some time ago I contact them, along with Hermes and Louis Vuitton, about creating leather seats for a certain high-end, special edition motorcycle. Longchamp said that motorcycles were not part of their repertoire. Their "about-face" is somewhat suspect.

Mr. X

daveinnola said...

what a nice frock dear try it on its only nylon

Charles said...

Paul, spot-on! more buyers may turn into more riders and may keep more vintage bikes out of the recycling bins. btw, if you have too many Velocettes taking up valuable space, you may store one or two at my place :P

The Vintagent said...

@Charles; Sadly, my Velos Are in storage right now...and one is in a friend's garage already.