Cue the accordion
Watching the workings of an Agnès B show is very much like watching Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. It has all the stereotypical charm you’d expect in a film about the capital, with quirky characters who blend seamlessly into an equally quirky environment, bumbling along with smiles and sentences without the subtitles.
As I snapped away at several of her colourful varsity jackets, I felt a gentle tap on the shoulder.
“Non, je suis Anglais” I mumbled back, even quieter and more undistinguishable than usual.
A few minutes later he came back with a colleague who kindly translated what he wanted to say. He told me how the gentleman had been working with the brand for over thirty years, and that the jackets I was snapping were crafted by the atelier himself. He was one of many who had a long time standing working with Agnès, and the ship she runs is filled with other equally skilled and wise hands.
It was a little peculiar for me to be photographing because aside from the iPhone enthusiasts, there was only one other photographer. They told me Agnès rarely ever lets press backstage, which completely explains why everyone was so bewildered by my presence. “Who is this strange chinois with the two cameras, that I’ve never noticed in my two decades working here?” they probably thought. Either way, the team were particularly welcoming, providing the feeling that they were getting in MY way as opposed to the other way round.
The setting wasn’t something I was used to – it was calm and high-spirited. Nobody was shouting into their headsets, everything seemed incredibly organised and people actually had room to move. There was also a real feeling of pride emanating from those working on the show, and a sense of morale which heightened as Madame Agnès walked into the room, turning faces and raising smiles in awe of her radiant presence. I suppose this is what happens when you have been designing under your own label for over 30 years.
All-in-all following the show day from start to finish was as I expected. Agnès is admired by her peers, and while her clothing isn’t something that changes radically from season to season, her attempts to create something classic and timeless are evident and noteworthy. She works tirelessly on the collection until it graces the catwalk, with the support of an equally tough and passionate team. Agnès was very charming the first time we met – a trait she seems to radiate through all she does.