The book “Agnès b.: Styliste”
Agnès Troublé (the “b” of agnès b. comes from Agnès’ first husband, Christian Bourgois) is the second designer I greatly admire who likes to call herself a stylist, rather than fashion designer. Giorgio Armani is the other one. There are other similarities between them, like a passion for cinema. A designer who loves movies is not interested in the fleeting fashion, he/she is interested in making clothes that go beyond trends and the ephemerality. They are interested in people, people for whom clothes are part of their personality. Then, Agnès, too, did not follow the norm, went against the stream, never radical but always seeing forward, relaxing the men’s rigidness and breathing androgyny into the women’s line. She went for practicality, for fluidity and lightness, for sensual over sexy, for discrete over ostentatious, for subtlety over revealing everything.
Agnès b.: Styliste, by Florence Ben Sadoun, is not a fashion book. It is an intimate portrait of an artist, someone who has always been knowledgeable of and has always drawn inspiration from cinema, music, photography, the fine arts to make clothes. Such vast inspiration, so simple the clothes. Because sophistication is in simplicity. The more you know, the less you want to reveal through your appearance. The book is also a family album. Because Agnès has formed life-long relationships with so many creatives from so many artistic fields. Life itself and people and street style are her greatest inspiration. Leafing through its pages gives you the impression that it tells a well lived life, creatively and otherwise.
Agnès was named fashion editor at Elle Paris, after another editor, Anne Rivemale, had noticed her mix and match style at a dinner, she designed the T-shirts for the movie Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, William Klein’s satire about the fashion industry, and pink ski combinations for Jean-Claude Killy’s brand, worked at Cacharel, then opened her first store in 1975 and the brand agnès b. took flight in the 1980s. Snap cardigans, rider jackets, long t-shirt dresses, leather pants, stripes, polka dots, black and white, Rock ‘N’ RollIs Not Dead! prints season after season in white ink on white agnès b. t-shirts. Timeless style. Agnès b. is one of the most revered fashion brands worldwide, but Agnès’ creativity greatly expands beyond the world of fashion. She forayed into film, directing her first feature, Je m’appelle Hmmm…, in 2013, is a keen photographer, often imprinting her clothes with her own photos, owns exhibition places in Paris, New York and Hong Kong, has helped increase the patronage of film festivals such as the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes and The Sarajevo Film Festival after witnessing the atrocities of the war, and of film libraries in Paris and Tangier. Her pioneer spirit is relentless.
Her clothes have been worn by David Bowie, Patti Smith, Brian Molko, David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch, Harvey Keitel. She dressed Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan, her suits were worn by the cast in Reservoir Dogs, she made John Travolta’s black jacket in Pulp Fiction, styled Jean-Pierre Léaud in many of his films, and printed the works of Dennis Hopper on her t-shirts. From the very beginning, in her shops, movie posters hung alongside clothes and music was playing on the turntable. She is a rock star, a poet, a storyteller, a free spirit, a dreamer, a maker. She has created her own universe and like-minded artists and people from around the world have found their place in it as well.
When David Bowie was wearing her clothes, including her signature Breton top, but no one knew it was agnès b., she didn’t tell anyone. She doesn’t like to advertise, she has never held a marketing meeting. She has done her own thing, always. That’s the definition of cool. She is above fashion.
”As stylist, the way to resist, in our own way, the standardization
and globalization in everything is to be, more than ever, ourselves!”