Designer Agnès B. on Versailles, Trends and Giving Back

Photo: agnesb_officiel/instagram

French designer agnès b. grew up in Versailles, France, where she recalled fondly the winters especially, as that was when the crowds were minimal. She soaked up all she could about her hometown, and you can see this reflected in many of her designs – architectural references through lines and shapes, along with imagery and inspiration.

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Last week Monday, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) welcomed agnès b., founder and designer of her namesake fashion brand. It was a talk curated by journalist Melissa Ceria.

This is a designer who was so humble and a delight to listen to. She was also extremely inspiring.

“I never look at trends. I need to make new trends. That’s a designer’s job,” she noted.

An example of this is her snap cardigan that she has continued to re-imagine while other companies have worked to recreate.

Photo: agnès b. - the snap cardigan
Photo: agnès b. – the snap cardigan

In a world of fast-fashion, hearing a designer speak to the desire to set trends is notable. The designer continued.

“The only fashion show I ever saw was [Yves] Saint Laurent, at his goodbye show at the Centre George Pompidou [in Paris]. I don’t go to shows; I go to museums.”

When she was around 20 years old, she became a junior fashion editor for Elle magazine, after a fashion editor from the magazine noticed and liked her style. During this time, she was also working as a freelance designer for various fashion houses, including Dorothée Bis and Cacharel.

“I never look at trends. I need to make new trends. That’s a designer’s job.”

agnès b.

In 1975, she opened her first store, which was in Paris and with her husband, Jean René de Fleurieu. It was in an old butcher’s shop.

Photo: agnès b.
Photo: agnès b.

She produces about 40 percent of her collection in France, which she admitted is difficult due to the many fees the country imposes. Yet, she does what she can, which is a theme that resonates throughout the talk.

agnès b. grew up in a family of sailors, so it should not come as a surprise that she is the main supporter of Tara Expeditions.

Tara is an expedition schooner whose mission is to study and to understand the impact of climate change and the ecological crisis of our oceans. Tara Expeditions is a French non-profit.

To learn more about agnès b., you can read her new book – “Styliste“. And, she noted that her jumpsuit for 2017 has some new features, including side zips and elastic at the waist. She wants her designs to stand the test of time and to be functional! Thank you agnès b.!

Connect with FIAF:

Connect with agnès b.:
Instagram @agnesb_officiel
Facebook @agnesb.officiel
Twitter @agnesbofficiel

And, agnès b.’s new book: “Styliste