Lush bales of carded, unspun cashmere provided a cushy counterpoint to the glass and metal framework of Agnona's brand new corporate headquarters in Milan, and eased the way into the lofty space that housed the brand's latest collection, and from tomorrow, their day-to-day operations.
Before getting to the body of the collection, tables of accessories expanded on last season's proposal, adding silver-toned graphic jewelry and a declension on the summer's boxy mini-bags. Many featured twists in their design, like a double layer opening, the outer zip opening on a colorful second one. Shoes and boots felt like a bread-and-butter no-brainer for high-end retailers keen to try out Agnona virtually risk-free.
When the temptation to reach out to see if those zaftig bundles were as silky soft as they looked got too strong, you couldn't escape the idea that this is what clouds must feel like. From there followed the idea that however thick those Agnona Rasta knits or the single-layered double-face coat looked, wearing them could completely redefine that neo-pagan euphemism of "skyclad" for polite society.
The wool path that led from one group to the next expressed the moments that Stefano Pilati imagined for the Agnona woman. The feminization of masculine details, a trait that has been at the heart of Agnona since its inception, felt more than ever dyed in the wool, and the peerless experimentation available to Pilati yielded some great results, like the aforementioned Rasta knits cut into knee-length dresses worn over trousers and tailored outerwear from that double-faced wool, cut so masterfully as to remove any bulk.
When the more relaxed silhouettes fell away in favor of sharp daywear, you'd have been remiss not to mention the humor that winked through. Razor cuts at the knees figured smiley faces, or the play on layers that disappeared into each other weightlessly. For evening, nary a gown in sight. In their place, the luxury of intricate and painstakingly embroidered panels adorned the minimal lines of beautiful tunics, or crept along the cuffs. The adornment was opulent enough, particularly when accessorized with the ingrained confidence of the successful woman. Who needs a crinoline to hide behind when your net worth and track record grant you access to the erstwhile big boys club? As a whole, these 21 silhouettes described a boardroom-to-ballroom-room arc that felt unconventional and fresh.
If there is one area that feels lacking in the overstaffed womenswear market, it's for suits. Hear the argument out: the powersuit went the way of the dodo in the Naughties, and workwear became an anything-goes arena of quasi-casual proposals. Although linking Agnona too strongly to the Zegna sartorial heritage would be something of a misnomer, given Pilati's track record for feminine "tailoring", you couldn't escape that idea entirely, particularly in the evening looks. And while minds come to terms with that, there's a roomful of snazzy accessories to tide you over.