Lancel was founded in 1876 in Angers, France by French leather artisan Angèle Lancel. Inspired by the fine leather craftsmanship of the region, Mme Lancel opened a small leather workshop and sold her handmade bags locally. Her designs combined simplicity with high-quality materials like supple galuchat leather.
Mme Lancel passed her passion for leatherwork down to her son Albert, who took over the business in 1900. Albert expanded the workshop into a full-fledged handbag manufacture. Staying true to the founder's vision, early Lancel bag designs were elegant, utilitarian and made to last generations.
Central to Lancel's identity is a dedication to fine French craftsmanship. The iconic Lancel Bucket bag exemplifies the maison's philosophy with its slouchy, minimalist shape and intricate leather pleating detail. First introduced in the 1930s, the Bucket remains a staple Lancel silhouette that continues to inspire new iterations season after season.
In the late 20th century, Lancel centered production in its historic Angers manufactory while expanding globally. The brand concentrated on opening freestanding boutiques in international fashion capitals to closely control brand image. Lancel also began offering small leather goods and accessories in addition to its signature handbags.
In the 2000s and 2010s, Lancel partnered with contemporary artists like Anita Quansah London for limited edition bag designs. The brand also collaborated with model Natalia Vodianova on a capsule collection paying homage to legendary style icons. These high-profile partnerships generated renewed buzz and cemented Lancel's reputation for enduring Parisian chic.
Heading into the 2020s and under new creative director Yoon Ahn, Lancel continues to honor its heritage while appealing to modern luxury consumers. The brand plans to expand ecommerce while upholding strict quality control and its commitment to responsible business practices across the supply chain.