Timeless elegance according to the legendary designer agnès b
My first digital campaign with agnès b. in China, timeless french elegance and her introduction of the new MIMI bag.
It’s that timeless understated elegance you get with some brands, not all of them. The first time I heard about agnès b., several years back, was when I got invited to their show during PFW at Palais de Tokyo, I was more or less starting my blog at that time. I think it was also the first few shows I attended at first, and today I’m shooting a digital collaboration with the brand in Shanghai for their new Mimi travel bag collection。
Yellow Mimi mini bag，Photographer：Buhtiyarov Kirill X Wandersnap
Something that was very revealing in her shows, especially the most recent ones is her utilitarian concept of clothing, taking importance in the unimportance. “I want to make clothes that can be kept for a lifetime. Clothing is made to be worn, not to be thrown away or buried in your cupboard after one two seasons, else it’s just waist” Agnès says to Challenges.fr Media.
PFW 2013 agnès b. shot from The Marginalist
Indeed, agnès b. is arguably the French pioneer of simple functional almost“anti-fashion”clothing, key pieces that transcend or even go against time and trends. We could also say that she paved the way for the newer generation of premium retailers such as Maje, Sandro, The Kooples, Zadig et Voltaire, Ami Paris etc. having now their own share of the market.
Black Mimi bag，total look by agnès b. , Photographer：Buhtiyarov Kirill X Wandersnap
Taking much of her inspirations from working clothing and combining contrasts of softness with roughness, Agnès has often stood for the power of uniforms representing a sort of eternal freedom to wearing such outfits. The rebellion and need of not wanting to been too seen or observed, was the reflection of ultimate comfort for the designer.
Ever since the inception of the brand, the designer always went against the direction of “blinged-up embellishments” creating a strong standpoint for society and beliefs regarding the working class. Elevating the ordinary, the average working man and women, and putting them on a pedestal is the brands concept and also what the designer visually expresses from her show; presenting diverse normality, domestic sedentation, and very casual items/structures.
“at the time, I found fashion too complicated. I wanted to start again from scratch, taking working clothes as a basis. I brought a new take on painter’s trousers, military uniforms, the waiters jacket, the builders overalls…
Models (fashion apparel) simply become garments that evolve over time, this is how I look at it. This is why I replicate a specific garment every year where I change the proportions, colours or textures, but the core still remains the same. I don’t like gadgets and I personally don’t like apparel that it weird and over expensive, it loses its cause and it becomes too charged. In fact, I prefer clothes to fashion.”- agnès b. interview 1977
Indeed, she is also stapled as a being a “brand that is not in style, with no extravagant creativity, but that will never get old or outdated” says Mr. Didier Grumbach, president of the French Federation of ready to wear and Couture.
Both her men and women’s wear runways shows in Paris further reveal the designers concept of simple apparel, made for everyone; men on the runway come in different ages, backgrounds, ethnicity and even height, for women the show is slightly more formal but the diversity in the models age and type is still apparent showcasing a more feminist approach to the concept。
“At agnès b., there is no style cabinet or trend office. The designer herself does everything, by herself. “I’m not going to sign my name on something I did not draw” says Agnès. An ubiquity that can, given the number of references, cause delays when manufactures wait for the return of modifications, but that has its advantages; unlike a cardigan that has multiplied its licenses for profit at the expense of its lost brand image, agnès b. oversees everything. “She shares everything, generously, except the brand, who is not in the group,” her son remarks. She alone owns it, and she defends it jealously: she won a lawsuit against Gap who had copied her cardigan. Above all, she deploys the brand to the rhythm that suits her.” agnès b. interview with Challenges.fr
Yellow Mimi mini bag，dress by me, Photographer：Buhtiyarov Kirill X Wandersnap
Milestones of the French brands iconic look started with the Snap Cardigan which has been evolving year over year since 1979.
“I would always wear a white sweatshirt I would have found at the flea market. Then one day in 1979, I thought to myself that this sweatshirt should be able to open up at the front. So I remade that sweatshirt with snap buttons, inspired by the 18th century”. The snap cardigan, a praise of elegance and simplicity, was an emblematic milestone of agnès b.’s creations that travelled through over 45 years of time.
Agnes B is also known for her striped T-Shirt in 1966 which was originally created for the movie “Qui êtes-vous Polly Maggoo?” by William Klein, and commercialized it 11 years later.
In 1996, Agnès created photo style prints showcasing the designer’s passion for photography and imprinting it on her apparel collection as a medium through which to show her pictures and images.
The brands iconic look of sedentary normality has also hit the hearts of Asia’s customers. Since her first shop on rue du Jour in Paris in 1975, according to WSJ, the company now has more than one hundred shops throughout the world, with 80% of its retail outlets situated in Asia.
She’s designed clothing for men, women and children that that can easily adapt to every personality whilst being timeless. Today, she continues to design each collection that bears her name transcending both cultures and time.
Accessories, Tshirt, and mens Bomber by agnès b. Photographer：Buhtiyarov Kirill X Wandersnap
Even today, agnès b. is still a tightly controlled brand who has created a commercial success in Asia, especially through their bags and accessory range they’ve offered. In a time where an over the top blinged up look is in trend to hit social media views, agnès b. sticks to functional apparel which she tweaks and evolves over time, such as the mini backpack for your daily travels, the snap cardigan, A-line dress, navy blue lined blazer and trousers as well as a re-modernized bomber are all things we should have in our closet for daily use that the designer has been creating since the 70’s.
Accessories and mini pink MIMI backpack by agnès b. , Photographer：Buhtiyarov Kirill X Wandersnap