For Brooke Taylor and Nana Aganovich, leaving London for a new life in Paris wasn’t the idyllic stuff of rom-coms and coming of age novels. Rather, it was the all-to-real struggle of settling in a new country with no money, no friends and finding one’s place in a completely new context. The trajectory of their Aganovich brand has mirrored these travails and tribulations over the year, to be considered through the benevolent lens of an aesthetic that showed promise and technical skills that needed nothing more but stability to grow into its own.
If their fall runway is to be believed, they are in a very good place. Not only have they found the perfect atelier, the perfect team but the serenity rolled off the duo like a soothing purr as they came to take their bow, their eyes glued onto each other in a testimony of symbiosis.
The sense of drama these silhouettes imparted was informed by historical dressing, as always. It could have positively smacked of its 18th century inspiration, but it was not so.
The opening look was a sky-high jacquard morning coat with laces climbing up the legs of slim trousers and a white shirt knotted at the neck. The back featured the same spaghetti thin laces, giving the impression of a bound energy, waiting for the slightest opportunity to become free of its restraints. Split up the legs, a white chemise would make a 19th century maiden blush but will have the 21st century ones reaching for it. A black dress, slashed diagonally from shoulder to ankle, fastened with ties. The same knots returned as a quasi-cravat on a crisp white shirt.
What anchored these silhouettes in our time is the addition of customized Converse sneakers, which provided enough of a counterpoint, balancing far better than the more vintage “clown shoe” style they had favored previously ever did. Likewise, slim high-waisted trousers were cut from leather, giving them new definition. Nana Aganovich’s skill in cutting and sewing is tantamount to artistry, sliding the cursor seamlessly between epochs.
Pete Drungle’s hauntingly beautiful piano echoed a collection that looked like the ivory keys of his instrument and projected the audience into an elegant bar in the night time – the cocktails proffered by Colin Field, of the recently-crisped Ritz and a friend of the couple, certainly furthered that fantasy – where dandies and dolls commingle in a refined ambiance. What the Aganovich duo shares with both guests of the evening, a sense of perfection and love of their craft that midwifes a recognizable, signed aesthetic.
There was something intensely familiar about it all, but the incremental tweaks that they have brought made it feel like a new chapter, appealing to the house’s devoted following and calling to new ones.
In an age where shows have to be immediately digestible, cut into squares and commoditized up the wazoo, it’s heartening to see those who, like Haider Ackermann, Yohji Yamamoto or Azzedine Ala