Bar the sound of camera shutters, there wasn’t a sound as the faceless silhouettes of Aganovich’s third couture collection took their turn in a shaded courtyard outside the ateliers of the French couture label designed by husband-and-wife pair Nana Aganovich and Brooke Taylor.
On the surface, it was couture business as usual with a handsome mix of finely wrought tailoring and hand-tooled materials that nodded to Aganovich’s proclivity for the 19th century. One outfit was the structure of a dress and riding coat rendered in black satin ribbon. The crimson velvet devoré of a coat was developed in-house by burning away the red thread until only the contrasting green weft remained. Gauzy black flowers were made out of garbage bags sewn into puffy 3-D shapes.
The season’s reflection lay between these and the identical white dresses that obscured the face, worn by all models. Under a flurry of white satin, the outline of grasping hands could be seen. An incongruous assortment of dollar-sign necklaces and a gold cap topped a stiffly corseted outfit. In the middle, a blue crushed velvet coat was whisked out to its return walk in a red colorway.
After the show, Aganovich and Taylor said they had explored the idea of anxieties “from society, from being a woman, for loving other designers,” and that “to reach your own thing, you have to go through them,” as inspired by “The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry,” the 1973 book by literary critic Harold Bloom.
The white gowns, she explained, were a shape that “we spent eight years making. Even when we make crazy pieces, that’s our building block. It’s the first layer of skin. The rest is a character, what you choose to put on and become, or not,” said Aganovich.
It was, however, no maudlin collection. The models took their final turn with faces revealed. Pointing out the fabrics developed in-house as solutions to the stretched budget of an independent couture house and to the floral motifs that appeared in the latter third of the collection, Taylor said that “whatever painful story you go through — we all deal with things — in the end, flowers come back, the sun comes up.”