NEW YORK — For Agnès Troublé (better known as agnès b.), next week’s opening night party for her Howard Street store here will be much like the life she leads — artistically minded, infested with friends and presumably fun.
In some indirect way, the hordes of weekend shoppers who now troop through SoHo have Troublé to thank for helping to lay the groundwork for the area’s retail boom by first setting up shop on Prince Street in 1980. While the designer, who divides her time between Paris and her hometown of Versailles, France, undoubtedly would loathe such a title, she has pretty much maintained a boutique in the neighborhood throughout that time. It was the indie art scene that first reeled her in and made her at ease in the area.
During a phone interview last week, Troublé described her intellectual pursuits that meld nicely with her clean designs. “I have always wanted to show people that clothes are something you need and something you like, but they are not a final project. You get dressed in the morning and then there are other things you are concerned with and many other problems that need to be taken care of,” she said. “I wanted this store to be very personal. If I was starting agnès b. today, maybe it would be what I’m doing on Howard Street.”
What she will be doing at 50 Howard Street is opening her first gallery boutique featuring work from Ryan McGinness, Rostarr, Dan Colen, Ryan McGinley, Harmony Korine, José Parlá, Bast and Jonas Mekas, among other artists who also happen to be friends. Their artwork won’t be the only traces of their creativity hanging in the 500-square-foot exhibition area within the 3,000-square-foot store, however. Their limited edition designs for her Artist T-Shirt collection will also be on display as of the April 1 opening night bash.
Tony Shafrazi, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Lynch, Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro were among those Troublé first befriended in the neighborhood after opening a shop at 110 Prince Street. In the Eighties, Madonna once dropped by for a hat and, upon learning about the then-rising pop star’s visit after the fact, Troublé said, “I told them you should have given her one.”
As much as she loves SoHo and has always felt comfortable there, even Troublé has been surprised by its transformation and never could have predicted it. “I wouldn’t think many people would be coming from New Jersey every weekend. At that time, that wouldn’t seem possible,” she said.
And while commerce is the focus of her stores, art remains her first love. Agnès b. is the main fashion sponsor for the 2011 Warm Up at P.S. 1 in Queens. A recipient of the Cross of Officer of the Légion d’Honneur, she has had the Galerie du Jour, a contemporary art gallery in Paris, since 1984. She also publishes a hybrid art periodical, Point d’Ironie and, in 2009, JRP-Ringier published “Collection agnès b.,” a book that highlights more than 300 pieces of artwork from her personal collection. “I have a life full of art, fashion, film, creativity — I love different things,” she said.
To give the store more of a neighborhood feel, agnès b. will have occasional film screenings in the store, and a partnership with a local independent film center is in the works. Troublé, who operates the film production company Love Streams and sponsors New York City’s Anthology Film Archives, is at home in the film world and not just because Lynch has been a friend for more than 25 years. She was the associate producer for “Jess + Moss” by Clay Jeter, which aired at Sundance. The designer has also dressed actors for various films, such as Keitel in “Reservoir Dogs” and Uma Thurman in “Pulp Fiction,” but such footnotes are only learned when asked. Troublé isn’t one to drop the names of her famous friends for personal financial gain.
“It’s friendship. It happens because it never had anything to do with advertising in any magazine,” she said. “I feel pure — I don’t feel like I am letting people on. It’s my culture.”
With her retail pursuits, the designer tries “to stick with the spirit of a city” as best she can. The New York store is housed in what used to be the New York State Soldiers’ Depot, a hospital and rest home for troops on leave dating back to 1863. With 12-foot ceilings, original cast iron columns, floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed brick walls and a limestone facade, the store has been refreshed with polished pale gray concrete floors, clean white walls and a mixture of antique, midcentury and industrial furniture. Of the agnès b. women’s and men’s clothing, shoes and accessories that will be sold, Troublé expects the artist-designed T-shirts, her exclusive prints and a red skirt to be early hits with women shoppers.
Agnes b. remains a privately held, family-run operation that now has 246 stores around the world. Her own globe-trotting is characteristically nonconventional. Last year, for instance, she could be found in Cairo inspecting the Tara, a scientific research vessel that her company is backing for a three-year global expedition to study oceanic ecosystems. Eager to return to Manhattan, where she keeps an apartment that she doesn’t often see, the designer plans to check out the Koo Jeong exhibition at the Dia Beacon, the Robert Crumb show at The Society of Illustrators, go to mass in Harlem, traipse down Canal Street and through Chinatown and catch David Daniels at Carnegie Hall and much more.
“I always have my program,” she said enthusiastically.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)