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PARIS — Any Parisian woman worth her Hermes scarf is familiar with the simple, modern staples of French designer Agnes Trouble, better known as agnes b. But even some of her most loyal customers might be surprised to learn the designer is intimately familiar with another hallmark of French chic, the Cannes Film Festival, having seen it from the inside “over the last five or six years because I’m getting more involved in film,” says the designer.
Trouble, in fact, heads a small but active movie production company, Love Streams, which she founded in 1997 after many of her director and actor friends sought help when their funds dried up. “I decided to formalize what became a regular rescue operation,” she says.
Her latest project is “Heart of the Festival,” a documentary about Cannes that was assembled from “millions of hours” of archive material by Gilles Jacobs, the festival’s long-standing president.
Trouble will distribute the film, which will be launched in the U.S. this evening with a screening at MoMA, followed by a party at Frederick’s.
“What I love about Gilles’ film is the way it captures the essence of Cannes,” says Trouble. “He knows the festival so incredibly well. His film isn’t nostalgic. It’s a joyous homage to the cinema. It makes you want to go to the movies.”
Many unforgettable movie moments are featured, from Federico Fellini, Luis Buñuel and Jean-Luc Godard talking about their art to Francis Ford Coppola, surrounded by his children, presenting “Apocalypse Now” to the press.
Though Cannes has launched many cinematic landmarks, its reputation wouldn’t be the same without the famous red-carpeted “steps.”
“They are part of what makes Cannes unique,” says Trouble, dragging on a Marlboro Light in the Hotel Costes. “The steps create a special ambience. Cannes is glamorous. The men are elegant; the women are beautiful. The photographers are in tuxedos.
“Gilles shows that glamour. He also shows the ideas. He understands the festival isn’t only one thing.”
As does Trouble. Though Cannes has become part of her production work, the designer hasn’t forgotten its fashion factor. “I made a western tuxedo for Jim Jarmusch this time that he hardly took off the whole festival. I also made a tuxedo for Gilles.”
Meanwhile, Trouble’s production schedule is whirring forward. At present, she is involved in about a dozen films, including a feature by director Patrice Chereau and a “making of” about artist Matthew Barney’s new “Drawing Restraint” cycle.
“I’ve always loved film,” she says. “I grew up near a cinema. At night, I could hear movie music filtering into my room. Fashion is just my job.”