If you were going to give a snappy title to today’s presentation of Stefano Pilati’s third collection for Agnona, Old Egypt and New Bondage would probably do it. Pilati’s not a fan of nostalgia in fashion, but as he was working the volumes of his new looks, he made a silhouette out of a paneled skirt that reminded him of something he’d seen in a book about ancient Egypt, a period so long ago that nostalgia was safely out of the picture.
A papyrus inspired the ancient Egyptian floral motif that was applied with a water laser to a gorgeous sand-colored suede coatdress (an ordinary laser would burn the delicate hide). Hieroglyphics traced silk knitwear, and a trio of sequined dresses were colored jade, amethyst, and amber, which Pilati took for ancient stones. The bags and shoes were a Pharaonic gold. So were the “Rolex” bracelets—like faceless watches “to convey the idea of a timeless woman,” according to the designer.
The initial challenge Pilati set himself was how to wrap a skirt from a single piece of fabric without it looking like a pareo. His solution? Curving slashes. Pilati cut them into skirts, dresses, and a cape. He thought it was a kind of punkish action, so the result inevitably reminded him of new bondage straps. And if it was a challenge to Pilati, it will be even more so to his Agnona customers. But Pilati paired these pieces with jackets and morning coats in double-face “Century Cashmere,” the lightest luxury fiber known to womankind. So it was a win-win situation for the avant-garde and the accessible. Besides, the entire sidewall of the presentation space was lined with commercial distillations of Pilati’s ideas, and quietly ravishing they were, too.