Luggage is one of those things that you might take or granted, until it breaks on the baggage carousel, or it is lost en route along with all the things we need for your trip. But when you are "going everywhere" or anywhere, a good suitcase is the unsung hero of any journey. Whether your trip is large or small, you've got to have a place to put your possessions. These days, airlines have made it even more difficult than ever to check heavy bags, and carry-ons limited in size, what you pack your things in, is as critical as what you decide to pack. And when you're sprinting through an airport or trying to get to your hotel (and you have to walk), having bags that won't balk, break or bruise you along the way, really helps.
Which brings me to the main topic of this article - Lipault Luggage.
A couple of years ago, I was introduced to Lipault, a superb line of lightweight luggage from France. Lipault was created by French designer François Lipovetsky in 2005. You can tell that a designer created it, because it is not just functional, it is beautiful. It turns heads everywher eyou go. The luggage comes in bright colors, not just boring black. Most recently, I literally slowed the check-in at the Jet Blue counter when I put my fuchsia Lipault packing case on the scle to be weight and checked in. All the agents nearby stopped what they were doing to stare and inquire: "what kind of luggage is that?!").
Lipault currently has three flagship stores in France and is distributed throughout France and the United Kingdom in prominent department stores such as Galleries Lafayette and Selfridges. In the US, Lipault can be found at prestigious department stores and specialty stores across the country. It is no surprise at all that Lipault has become one of France’s leading luggage brands. It's popular here in the United States, too.
What is it about Lipault Luggage that is so captivating? First, I think it is the fact that is is actually fashionable. It comes in colors. These bags stand out in a sea of boring black bags. I can tell immediately when one of my Lipault bags has arrived on the baggage carousel because they're pink, purple and I have an orange one too.
The bags are nicely crafted, with padded handles, and pull out metal handles that recess into the bag and then have an additional zippered covering over them for protection when they're getting flung around by baggage handlers. Inside, there are straps to keep your clothing in place since the bags are primarily soft,
There are matching luggage tags, and the seams are nicely finished. The wheels coordinate with the bag and are the same color as the bag, not just some standard wheel in black. Bumpers around the wheels and bottom of the bag, add support
All of this, plus the overall quality and performance of the bags in aspect, makes then so extraordinary. They're my favorite and beloved traveling companions. Cost is not always an indicator of performance. Lipault luggage isn't inexpensive, but it isn't outrageously expensive either. A 26" 4-wheeled packing case on the Lipault web site, for example, is $229.00, the 22" 4-wheeled carry on is $199.00 . I have found pieces and other parts of Lipault collections on sale for less, you need to shop around.
There are several different collections, with the "O" collection being the one that folds completely flat for storage. That's great if you live in a small space with limited storage, but they have two wheels, not four. When choosing the Lipault bags I was going to put through their paces for the next couple of months in a variety of places and situations, I opted for the packing cases, that fold flat (although not completely flat and that have four multi-directional (spinner)wheels. The advantage to the spinner wheels is that you can literally "walk" with two of these bags at your sides instead of pulling them behind you, and you can push them in any direction. This came in particularly handy when I was at the AVN show in Las Vegas, and I had a Lipault carry-on full of electronic equipment, and a large sized piece of Lipault luggage that I had to get through the airport on my own. With one bag on either side of me, I was able to "walk" then easily wherever I had to go.
The Lipault bags also are strong. This was especially made clear to me when my British Airways Open Skies flight from Orly to JFK had an electrical failure mid flight and we were diverted back to Orly. We had to collect all our luggage and go to a hotel. It was raining and the bus left us about a four minute walk over rocks to the entrance to the hotel. I had a mid-sized Lipault bag, and a large traditional duffel bag plus a large purse and a computer bag slung across my shoulder. The Lipault bag was already over-stuffed from what I had brought from home, and Paris sales. Then, I had to place the long, heavy, large duffel on top of the Lipault bag, because I simply couldn't handle four bags by myself without stacking them. The Lipault bag not only held up under the strain of the contents of several bags, but the four wheeled spinners allowed me to more easily transfer the bags over the rough, rocky surfaces to and from the airport hotel and then back to the airport, without sagging or breaking. Everything arrived hone safae and sound.
The Lipault carry on spinner bag, the 22" packing case and the larger 26" Lipault packing case have been with me on a number of trips.I have been "in motion" for several months. I knew I was going to be taking a lot of trips, and a number of them as a solo traveler, so got in touch with my contacts, and asked if I might road test some Lipault bags. I have been traveling for the past couple of months, almost non-stop:
December 2013 - 26" Lipault bag travels with my husband and I on British Airways Open Skies to Paris. On the way to our hotel, we're stuck in a traffic jam so bad (over 1 1/2 hours) due to a bad fire closing streets, that we finally get out of the cab and started walking in the rain to our hotel, The uneven, cobblestone streets are hard to walk on, let alone when you're walking with a wheeled suitcase. Our Lipault bag manages the journey without whining, stalling, or breaking. And our clothes don't even get wet or wrinkled.
January 2014 - a purple Lipault carry-on 4-wheeled spinner makes its debut on a one-night party cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Gem. It isn't a huge bag, but it holds everything my husband and I need for one night away.
January 14th 2014 - The same Lipault carry-on does its duty as my electronics carry on when I attend the AVN show in Las Vegas. On that trip, I also take the 26" Lipault packing case. As I have already mentioned, being able to "walk" the bags at my sides instead of having to pull them behind me, made dealing with them myself, easy. The Lipault bag causes a minor sensation at check-in at the Jet Blue counter at JFK.
January 20, 2014 - A day after touching down in NYC on the red-eye from Las Vegas, I board a British Airways Open Skies flight to Paris, taking the 22" Lipault bag as my primary suitcase. Traveling alone, it was easy to navigate with this bag, even though I also had a large duffle bag and computer bag without wheels. The Lipault bag was the first one to arrive on the baggage carousel! I knew it, instantly!
January 27th, 2014 - Right after I arrived home from Paris, I attend a press preview cruise for the Norwegian Cruise line's new ship the Getaway. My husband and I take the 22" Lipault bag. Perfect for this 2-day trip. I also take the Lipault carry-on to hold all my media materials and electronics equipment.
damaged lipaultFebruary 10, 2014 - A few weeks later, my husband take the Lipault carry on and the 26" Lipault packing case to Mexico. It is here that the story gets a little sad. US Airways was having some difficulties with their conveyor belt and my beautiful large Lipault bag didn't show up in Cancun even though it was marked as a priority piece of luggage. Finally, it shows up, full of grease with a few rips in the top of the bag. It is clear that the bag has gotten "stuck" on a conveyor or on a hook." Not even a very strong fabric and a beautifully constructed Lipault bag can resist everything. But the damages have not compromised he functionality of the bag (it can be patched). It just proves that you have to try really really HARD to damage a piece of Lipault luggage.
In Europe, you can find Lipault in department stores including Galleries Lafayette, Au Printemps, and Selfridges. The products are also featured in Lipault’s flagship store on the prestigious Boulevard de Madelaine in Paris But here in the USA you can find Lipault luggage in online luggage shops and fine quality travel shops. To learn more about all the collections, please visit the new e-commerce U.S. Web site at www.lipault-us.com