{monday muse: agnès b...}

the art of agnès b.. if you've spent any amount of time here (small or significant) then you undoubtedly know that i have a penchant for strong, creative women (e.g., linda rodin). women who live by the beat of their own drum and carve out a life for themselves that is full of passion for life, compassion for those around them, and the drive to see their vision through. several months ago (gosh, september 2011 to be exact!), i ran across a great article in vanity fair about agnès bourgois, or more famously known as agnès b. before reading the article, i didn't know much about agnès b. other than she was french and designed a stylish line of clothing initially "inspired by classic workers' uniforms." i remember wanting - pretty badly - one of her infamous snap cardigans in college. (can you believe over 2 million of these cardigans have been sold to date?*)

i think the reason the article stuck with me was due to the fascinating life agnès has lived and continues to live. she was born beautiful with a strong head on her shoulders in 1941. her mother once said, "mon agneau never does anything like the others. i know she's a rebel, but she's very, very nice." 
agnès was married at 17 and, with twin sons, amicably left her husband by the age of 19. she was determined to support herself and did so by working for elle, designing for dorothée bis, and then finally striking out on her own.

"andy spade and his wife, kate, discovered agnès b. around 1986, before they'd created their handbag company, kate spade. 'what she did so well,' says andy spade, 'and inspired me to even get into fashion, which i wasn't really interested in as a business-she was able to explore all of her loves through her business. and that actually helped her communicate what she was trying to say as a designer. i felt like, wow, i could do that. i don't have to have these separate passions. she made it all about her love.'"

perhaps the secret to finding your purpose/passion is to honor all the things that you love rather than focusing in on one thing. agnès's story is a great reminder to create a life you truly love - even if it's unconventional and no one has forged the same path before you; embrace it, love it, and true happiness will follow.

i hope the little that i shared above will entice you to read the entire article. i assure you, this post is a very abridged version and i have left out many interesting tidbits. i'm curious, are you familiar with agnès b.? have you ever owned anything from her line?

image source: agnès b. outside her home in fance photographed by brigitte lacombe / hanger with logo photographed by jacob beinholt / young agnès via opening ceremony / snap cardigan and stripe t-shirt ... *all quotes and facts via an article titled, Liberté, Égalité, Agnès B. found in the september 2011 issue of vanity fair

9 Send Me Your Thoughts:

  1. I've never owned anything by Agnes B but Richard apparently used to buy all his clothes there. And no wonder you love her as she does a lot of stripes ;o)

    I think her clothes are really elegant and understated. Thanks for all that, I knew nothing about her at all.


  2. Hi Theresa,

    I hope you had a lovely mother's day :-)

    I don't own anything of agnes b but I love her name. I reminds me that if I ever had a girl she would be called Agatha - which everyone absolutely detests. Anyway I digress! Her story sounds very inspiring, she should write a book, we'd all buy it I'm sure. The word 'rebel' is interesting, it always comes across in a negative sense, may be it's because in life, we are kind of conditioned to follow the crowd, fit in and not strive to be opposite. I seems we should all strive to be rebels to get the best from life x

  3. good info on her. a classic for sure! Teri

  4. T, you know we both share a love of strong, independent women, a love of finding your purpose in life and a love of self-development.

    I've known Agnes B from the beginning, what I didn't know was that the Spades discovered her. How interesting. Who knew?

    I've had bits and pieces over the years but I don't really fit into anything. It's cut for very 'petit' women..

    Yes, she also sometimes reminds me of Coco Chanel...

    You would have liked the event I went to tonight.. really inspiring.. www.theschooloflife.com

  5. Agnes B is one of those inspirational women that truly embodies the power of vision and entrepreneurship.

    Thanks for sharing the article - will rifle through my old VF copies and sit down for what I'm sure will be a good read.


  6. I can definitely see the Chanel connection. You always turn me onto the best people and things Theresa. I didn't know about agnes b., but now I'm super intrigued. I'm not petit, as Tina says, but her aesthetic is right up my alley!

  7. hello theresa, i like the idea of combining our loves and passions. in teaching, i've always done just that with my bookworm-ness. creating new bookworms is a huge goal, and more challenging and important now than ever. also her independent spirit is wonderful.

    thanks for the info!

  8. @ANNIE - I have to admit that I did get a faux snap cardigan in a houndstooth pattern that my mom brought back for me from Japan many years ago. It satiated my need and I wore it to death. I also have an Agnes b. watch. I do like her mens line - clean, simple and well made. R. has impeccable taste.

    @SAM - She should write a book...That's a great idea. Is it weird that I'm immediately drawn to someone who is described as a rebel? I just know that person is going to be multi-faceted and have many layers. Fascinating.

    @TERI - Thanks, T.

    @TINA - Ah, I didn't know it was cut for petite women. Good to know.
    I saw your IG photos of the event and, I agree, it sounds like something I would really enjoy. Right up my alley. Thank you for the link!

    @KATE - Thanks, Kate. Glad you enjoyed. PS~If you click on the link, it will take you right to the article. But, if you want to read it from the magazine, the article is from the September issue with J.Lo on the cover. ;)

    @LAUREN - You would definitely find her inspiring, L. I forgot to mention in the post that she recently opened an art gallery to highlight lesser known, emerging artists. She is definitely a free spirit. Oh, and she wears a ring that's engraved with the saying, "give love." Pretty cool, right?

    @NOREEN - As a teacher you are most definitely tapping all of your loves and passions. It's almost mandatory so the kids can feed off your energy. It's a wonderful calling and purpose you have.

  9. LOVE LOVE LOVE Agnes B! In my mind she's one of the pioneers of the casual chic movement. I used to go to her store on Robertson and swoon over everything there. I missed this month's issue so thanks for letting me know - thinking about subscribing on my IPad :)


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