longchamp-le-pliage-50.jpgWelcome to the first in a new series of spotlights on classic handbags brought to you by the handbag hoarders here at Bag Lady HQ! We'll be putting a different bag under the microscope every day between now and Christmas, only featuring the styles we think it's worth your while investing in - and at tough times like these, it's important to be sure your arm candy will stand the test of time.

The first bag we're focusing on in our countdown of the 50 most memorable, coveted and iconic bags of all time is the Longchamp Le Pliage tote ('pliage' meaning 'fold' in French). Simple, elegant and instantly-recognisable, the folding travel bag a grown-up style that's attracted fans of all ages in recent times. 

Handbag history: Longchamp is, of course, a French brand and it launched in 1948; but before it made bags, Longchamp specialised in smoking paraphernalia, including elegant leather coverings for pipes. Clearly someone in that company foresaw the decline in smoking that was going to hit hard later on, and it soon branched into leather goods.

Fans of the brand are often surprised to learn that the flagship Le Pliage style only debuted in 1993. An instant classic, it quickly became Longchamp's most popular style, allowing it to gain a foothold in the US and international markets.

jeremy-scott-le-pliage.jpg

In Our View: This bag works because of its versatility. Its success lies in the fact that its styling is simple almost to a fault, but this plainness makes it effortless to match with your outfits all year round. These bags look as good in the boardroom as they do on the beach, and they are also highly customisable, with infinite possibilities for designers. Recently, we've loved the hot pink Le Pliage that's been popping up on many a tanned arm, and Jeremy Scott's range that included the 'planes and roses' style pictured above, was a design triumph. but we'll never stop going back to the classic, more sober colours where this bags routes lie.

Celebrity fans of the Longchamp include Kate Moss, whose love for the brand has extended into a collection of her own design, currently on sale at stores and online. Leighton Meester also hearts Longchamp, but we've yet to find a luxury designer brand she doesn't rate! Madonna, Claudia Schiffer and Ivana Trump are all fans and we've even heard rumours that Jane Birkin actually prefers Longchamp over her mothers namesake bag by Hermes...quel horreur!

Get the Look: If you'd like to bag yourself a Longchamp Le Pliage tote, you won't have to break the bank: prices start at around £50 second-hand (try eBay) and the RRP is around £70: there's a selection to buy online at Harrods.Don't forget this style comes in several sizes, so be sure you've picked the right one before you hit 'purchase!'

Stay tuned tomorrow to see which bag made it to number 49!



See the rest of our iconic handbags countdown here