Collaborations between high fashion houses and street wear labels isn’t a novel concept. The most recent ones include H&M’s partnership with Simone Rocha, Uniqlo’s revived collection with German designer Jil Sander, Maison Margiela with Reebok and the list goes on. But French luxury label Longchamp have been doing it long before it was cool, and its latest collection with streetwear brand Emotionally Unavailable is a testament to its tried-and-tested formula.
For the uninitiated: Emotionally Unavailable is the brainchild of Canadian-born Hong Kong actor and rapper Edison Chen and Kybum Lee, the designer of Undefeated. Founded in 2013, the goal was to create a contemporary streetwear label for hopeless romantics—much like themselves—through clothes bearing graphic texts and deep art messages. Chen also co-founded Hong Kong-based fashion label CLOT. Together, they’ve collaborated with the likes of Nike, Medicom and Dover Street Market.
For the Longchamp x Emotionally Unavailable collection, Chen and Lee were inspired by the French label’s iconic Le Pliage line. And with their offbeat humour, came up with the tagline “Been a CHAMP a LONG time” as the leitmotif for the instalment. The result? A seemingly boxing-inspired collection that’s actually about heartbreak, deep love and self-strength.
“These taglines come out because we’re all in this constant struggle of relationships and feelings – not only in love, but with our siblings, our parents, our co-workers. It’s this thing everyone goes through,” said Chen in a press statement.
All the bags in the series feature a witty allusion, such as the phrase “Professional Heartbreaker” emblazoned in white on the black Le Pliage bags, a nod to their bleeding heart logo. The duo also put their stamp—literally—on the bags by recreating their version of an European Union number-plate label and putting that on the side of the Le Pliage bags.
The Le Pliage Cuir also gets an update in this collection with the Longchamp logo reimagined as a bold, boxing-style graphic printed over the Emotionally Unavailable bleeding heart monogram. The travel bag too, gets an upgrade with supple black lambskin and adjustable straps that allows it to be carried as a bag pack. Furthermore, the collaboration includes a mini tote with a removable shoulder strap, a card holder that’s also a coin purse and key reel, and a miniature cross-body bag that features an all-over heart and racehorse pattern.
A series of ready-to-wear comprising athleisure staples such as a grey-marl hoodie; black sweatshirt; t-shirts with the “Been a CHAMP” or boxing logo designs in black and white; unisex boxing shorts with matching kimonos; a short-sleeved crew neck t-shirt; and drawstring pants complete the collection.
“For me, in a collaboration, what is very important is to keep both identities. I think what is very successful in this collaboration, and in the products we made together, is that you can feel the authenticity and the know-how of Longchamp, and you can feel the energy and power of Emotionally Unavailable,” said Sophie Delafontaine, Longchamp’s creative director.
The Longchamp x Emotionally Unavailable capsule collection launches on 27 April 2021.
This article was originally published in Harpers Bazaar.