In fashion, most of the glory and column inches go to the avant-garde and the celebrity-courters. But what about those other labels that keep their heads down and keep the customers coming? Not easy to do, certainly not in this climate.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about A.P.C. celebrating 30 years in business. This week it’s all about another French stalwart, Agnès b
(who A.P.C’s Jean Touitou worked with for a while), whose cotton snap cardigans, boyish suits and other everyday vetements have kept the tills ringing since 1976. I frequently top up on my tees in the Marylebone and Covent Garden stores. The Brando tee gets a starring role in my book The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman and the 2-tone striped long sleeve tees have been a uniform staple since my early 20s.
But Agnès b is not solely about clothes. Agnès the woman is a huge culture champion, befriending artists, musicians and filmmakers and frequently collaborating with them. In her new book Styliste, she references her many artist friendships and unpicks the entire Agnès b journey, from her first shop in Paris, to her art gallery to her international ‘family’ of friends and staff, to her socio-political works with AIDS and eco charities.
Part memoir, part scrap book, Styliste is a visual delight, liberally scattered with handwritten notes that fans will recognize from her many graphics, posters and T-shirt designs over the years. Reading this book, you’ll realise that the ‘anti-fashion’ Agnès b look has permeated much of the style landscape of the last few decades. From Tarantino’s films, to David Bowie’s stage outfits, to the now-ubiquitous gender-neutral look, it transpires we all have a little bit of Agnes b in us.
Buy the Agnès b Styliste book here (£30)
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
MAIN IMAGE: Top, Agnes b; Sunglasses, Cutler & Gross
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