In 1997, agnes b. co-founded point d’ironie (below), a periodical created by artists.
Fashion designers don’t typically rub elbows with humanities scholars, but Renaissance woman agnès b. defies most labels by applying stylistic concepts to everyday life.
The French designer of timeless styles, gallery owner, cinema promoter and art periodical curator will speak April 28 at the central branch of the Madison Public Library at 7:30 p.m. The event is part of the Humanities Without Boundaries series presented by the UW-Madison Humanities Department.
“agnès b. has demonstrated that fashion is not just about pieces of clothing or even just about style, but about a way of life, the intersection of ideas and ethics, life and art,” says Sara Guyer, an English professor and director of the Center for the Humanities.
Although the series regularly features scholars, agnès b. fits right in, Guyer adds: “We also present and situate work like hers that knows no boundaries, is intellectual and complex and provocative and whose form — what we wear, where we shop — challenges our conceptions of intellectual work.”
agnès b. designs “casual chic” women’s and men’s clothing with the intention that it will never go out of fashion. She opened her first shop in Paris in 1975 and now has stores in London, Amsterdam, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. The designer has also created scarves and jewelry to benefit humanitarian causes, including the Red Cross and charities helping earthquake victims in Nepal.
But agnès b. is much more than a designer.
In 1984, she opened galerie du jour, a contemporary art gallery in Paris. In 1997, she co-founded an atypical periodical, point d’ironie. Each of the six to eight eclectic annual issues is created by one artist. One hundred thousand copies are distributed worldwide to museums, galleries, bookshops, schools and theaters.
Furthermore, agnès b. owns a film production house, Love Streams Productions. She has partnered with screenwriter/director Harmony Korine, who wrote the 1995 cult classic Kids, and sponsored the French release of David Lynch’s 2006 mystery flick Inland Empire. Some of her fashions garnered screen time in Mullholland Drive, Lynch’s 2001 dark thriller.
agnès. b will discuss fashion, art, film and social justice publishing in her Madison presentation. Adding a touch of class, receptions before and after her lecture will feature French 75s: cocktails of champagne, lemon juice, gin and simple syrup.