Gabriela Billini is a non-native New Yorker who travels the world to understand why people wear what they wear and how. She is an independent fashion reporter, trend chaser, and self-proclaimed beatnik.

Agnès B. Fall-Winter 2017

With such a the monumental venue, expectations were already high. Les Invalides is most known as the final resting place of Napoleon. Having a fashion show at such a decadent building, a symbol of France, is both forward and audacious.

War and Fleece

With that in mind, approaching the venue for the show was a bit puzzling and made me curious of what (if any) the connection would be. Very shortly after the show started, it became apparent.

The collection was centered around long and drapey wartime silhouettes. But you could still feel the luxury. In the interwar period, women’s roles changed severely. Women had to step into the workforce to fill in the shoes of men who were away fighting the war. With pants not yet being the wardrobe norm for women, dresses in heavy fabrics were made to keep women warm and comfortable, with room to work. Old pleating techniques no longer in style were present on dresses and skirts, really recalling a vintage flavor of couture. The collection featured long hemlines, utility fabrics and more somber colors, grounded with a beautiful bold and matte red lip.

Women had to step into the workforce to fill in the shoes of men.

You had the occasional bright color in this portion of the collection, with a jewel-tone green surfacing, and look #2 had a hit of luxe in the elegant silk pants.

The presence of the models was felt through the heavy fabric in skirts and bottoms. It was all about utility, just as it was in the interwar period. Thick wool pants were brought into the new century through a modern silhouette edit, and the ladies were low on the ground with chic loafers and low boots. One personal favorite was the look in which the designer had sewn backpack straps into the jacket to carry easily and add mobility — perfect for expedience.

The Italian gangster suit pops up again here, as it did with AALTO, and makes me wonder if there’s something bigger brewing here.

The coquettish side of the interwar period also saw the light as well, with the small touch of knit cashmere gloves, a buttermilk windowpane skirt suit and an old classic — a velvet dress worn with an arm shawl, with the modern twist here being multiple high slits. It appeared very conventional and translatable.

Then the beat drops. And marching in comes a pair of leather pants and a velvet choker. Here a new girl emerges, bringing with her a city chic feeling infused with some London punk. (There was even a Boy George moment!) The collection catapulted forward about 60 years and carried on with cool bombers and neoprene two-piece suits. Despite an ugly fake fur and a geometric print halter top feeling out of place, the mod portion felt the most trend-affected.

There was even a Boy George moment.

The different sub-collections were hard to follow. Another beat change introduced a third portion. Some chevron pieces and a suede jacket showed a more ’70s vibe, along with a burnt orange baggy pant suit.

My favorite look was an adorable deep purple dress with an ombre effect on its lower hem and back. It looked like it was on fire, sort of how the evening sky looks after it clears from a long rainy day, and the sun is ready to set.

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agnès b.

With love,

FWO

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