Très bien! Finally, a book that fuses our fascination for all things French and our obsession with handbags. Longchamp, the French purveyor of luxury leather goods, teamed up with artist Fabienne Legrand to create Two loves have I, my handbag and Paris, a charming compilation of illustrative anecdotes narrating the day-to-day of protagonist Prune and her sidekick(s): Longchamp bags.
Quirky and humorous, each page is drawn with precision to playfully shed light on all the numerous functions of a bag (including but not limited to a pillow, a booster seat, a Christmas ornament, and a baguette holder). "Longchamp left me with complete freedom and kept the humor I created for different situations," Legrand told InStyle.com of the process. "Sometimes the bag was the hero, and sometimes it wasn't. It was great pleasure for me to have that freedom."
Gift the graphic novel to your bag-obsessed BFF, or to yourself if you're looking for a laugh, for $20 at longchamp.com or Longchamp stores. Read on for our full interview with Fabienne where she discusses the experience, the importance of a handbag and the secrets to Parisian style:
How did your relationship with Longchamp begin?
"It began with my editor when Longchamp came to [publisher] Cherche Midi and asked them to develop this book, this partnership, and asked me if I was happy with this. I was very afraid of this project. It was a huge project and it was my first time to work on a book and a brand. I was afraid to lose the freedom to create. In fact, my editor was confident in this relationship so said: "You will see, you will have no problem." That was what happened: [Longchamp] left me with complete freedom and kept the humor I created for different situations. Sometimes the bag was the hero, and sometimes it wasn't. It was great pleasure for me to have that freedom."
How did you create the illustrations?
"For 25 years, I was in 3D animation, so I used the computer. I draw directly on the tablet with a pen, and Photoshop. But the Longchamp bags are pictures. Longchamp gave me all the pictures of the handbags, and I stretched, distorted, manipulated them."
How long did it take to draw one illustration?
"For one drawing, it took three, four days. It was a long process because I'm used to working in high definition. I’m very detailed. In the book, you can’t see all the details, but if you zoom in on the computer, there are all these details in the eyes, the face, the hair. In total, it took nine months—like a baby!"
How did you develop the style of the illustrations? (Colorful characters and a black-and-white background)
"When I was working in 3D animation, I created a 3D television series three, four years ago. I created the characters in color and the background in black lines. This series was very appreciated by people; they liked this style and so I decided to try it with 2D pictures. After that, I tested a combination of colors, but it began not in still images, but in animated images."
How did you come up with the stories? What does the brand mean to you now?
"It was very interesting to go into the art of the brand. I discovered all the shapes, the colors, the texture and the ideas behind the collections of Longchamp. I discovered the importance of this brand for young children, teenagers, for all age groups. I interviewed people around me, to find out what the brand Longchamp means to them, and I observed people. If I saw something, I took it and it became a story. It's a book of observations. For me, it was a very interesting, social experience."
What does a handbag mean to you?
"It’s like having your house with you. It’s intimate; it’s a private affair. It represents your personality: the size, color, etc. It’s a good mirror of the woman. A very important object."
Finally, what are the secrets to Parisian style?
In my opinion, Parisians like to have special pieces in fashion, but the complete effect is very simple. We want to be very simple in the way we look, not too much makeup. My friend once said, "You have to choose: makeup on lips or eyes, but not both. This is the same for fashion. If you choose an eccentric piece, wear it with something simple. The effect: Minimal."