With his first collection for Agnona, Stefano Pilati swiftly advanced the venerable brand into a seasonless collection that could be purchased on the spot during Milan Fashion Week.
This story first appeared in the November 11, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I always thought that when something is beautiful, a six-month wait for the purchase can be too long. If I see something that I like, I want to buy it right away,” explained Pilati, who is numbering the collections, starting with Zero for the September offer.
The collection was displayed in a work-in-progress store on Milan’s tony Via Sant’Andrea with builders’ notes scribbled on the raw walls and unique white mannequins with lamb limbs—a reference to the brand’s original core wool and cashmere business. The unit was developed by Pilati with the Cologne, Germany-based design studio Meiré und Meiré. The designer said he was “interested in experimenting” with the store as a reference point. He decided to avoid a more traditional runway show or presentation to eliminate the “distance and especially the wait.”
Agnona is the 30 million euro ($40.5 million) women’s niche brand owned by men’s powerhouse Ermenegildo Zegna Group. The former Yves Saint Laurent creative director started Jan. 1 in the same role at Agnona and as head of design at Ermenegildo Zegna, with responsibility for that brand’s fashion show as well as for the Ermenegildo Zegna Couture lineup.
Pilati was respectful of the 60-year-old Agnona’s heritage, but at the same time irreverent enough to scissor the finest cottons into a chunky fringe and cut raw silks and double-faced cashmeres into asymmetric forms. Other fabrics included double silk, viscose Japon or Crepe Romain silk, as well as a classic masculine kid mohair used for Agnona in a double version.
Pilati noted that this was the first time he’s presented a collection as a creative director in Milan. “I would say that it was a good experience. Agnona is really a work in progress. Surely in February we will do something during women’s fashion week, and the seasonless element will remain as the collection’s attitude. However, I don’t rule out that Agnona will have something else to say before February.”