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Lancel - Biography

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Bold and visionary, in 1876 Angèle Lancel opens her store near the new Opéra Garnier, the liveliest district in Paris. She initially sells smoking accessories, but soon decides to concentrate on decorative objects and accessories for women. Society is becoming more liberal and fashion is evolving.

From 1900 Lancel’s business activities turn towards feminine accessories and decorative objects. In keeping with the times, the House of Lancel champions a very Parisian way of living. Objects become useful and beautiful, innovations make perfect gifts. The classic purse transforms into a clever bag of tricks. Ingenuity is at the heart of everything.

In 1925 a brand icon, the bucket bag becomes the benchmark bag. Rechristened Premier Flirt in 2006, it continues to speak today of the House’s timeless elegance.

In 1929 Lancel sets up business over four floors in Place de l’Opéra. Albert takes over from his mother. He perpetuates the founding principles of the Lancel story : daring, imagination, innovation… and definitively transforms the family business into a prosperous luxury purveyor of fine leather goods. The inter-war period is marked by intense creative activity. The brand keeps one step ahead of the expectations of customers hungry for modernity and files numerous patents; the "Automatic Lighter", "Lancel Aviona Trunk" and the "Umbrella Bag" are all striking innovations.


From 1950 the arrival of paid leave brings holidays to the masses. Lancel launches the first soft Kangaroo suitcase featuring an exterior pocket and manufactured in a light Nylon canvas, a Lancel exclusive. Actors fight over

In 1970 always a pioneer, Lancel explores the field of artistic collaboration, choosing Dali’s phantasmagoria. The artist’s passionate love for his wife Gala had become a romantic alphabet just for them, the “daligramas”. Lancel interprets it by creating a collector’s bag dedicated to Gala, the “Dali”, whose original handle is a bicycle chain, the symbol of sincere attachment between two energies travelling in the same direction.

In 1976, Jean and Edgar Zorbibe bought Lancel and decided to set upon a global adventure. The brand is now known all over the world through its subsidiaries in the USA that were set up in 1979 and then in the south-east of Asia, in Hong-Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Manila and above all, in Japan. Lancel becomes the highly attractive brand that stands for French craftsmanship.

In 1987 the bucket bag is rereleased under the name of Elsa by Lancel and very quickly becomes one of the brand’s bestsellers. This bag has already charmed several million women.

In 1990 with off-the-wall and generous imagery, Lancel managed to fuel a creative and innovative tone of communication. Profusion and invigorating red set a surprising scene. Lancel campaigns create an immediate desire for beautiful gifts.

In 2006 Lancel refocuses its activities on fine leather goods. The brand reinterprets its cult bucket bag, which will become a brand icon, the Premier Flirt.

From 2008 by collaborating with two emblematic women artists, Lancel expresses again its proximity with the French cultural background. In 2008, Isabelle Adjani pictured her ideal handbag. With this focus in mind, the very elegant Adjani handbag was born. Later in 2012, Brigitte Bardot created another inspirational handbag, giving birth to the iconic B.Bardot with perfect proportions and exquisite curves. The perfect feminine ideal.