Aganovich: rhapsody in blue

Amidst the gutted bowls of the Palais de Tokyo, a basement that is little more then a shell of concrete and exposed wires, we enter a space that is part catwalk, part art-installation. A temporary, black wall divides this sports-pitch sized space and dually serves as the backing wall for catwalk. It’s basked in an eerie blue light that sees the shadows of we the guests projected against it in three different shades of blue, the way they merge together gives off an odd sense of the paranormal – somehow each shadow seems disembodied, as if it’s moving separately to its creator. Heightening precisely that eerie feeling this space is exuding, this Paris fashion week venue is filled with the sound of wind while, though also on the soundtrack, off in the distance the faint sound of wind chimes can be heard. It leaves the impression that Aganovich’s fall 2011 collection is, like this space, going to be otherworldly.

And yet it isn’t. Though the sound of wind and wind chimes continue as the parade-cum-presentation begin, what we pay witness to is more an exploration of the colour blue then it is an exploration of the supernatural. The strange blue lights that had filled the space disappear, only to be replaced by the warm catwalk lights. Within moments the whole otherworldly mood has vanished.

So too have my expectations as to what this collection might be. Where I had imagined unearthly prints are instead latex leggings whose shine and colour combine to give the impression that the models legs are actually clad in cream. Where I expected there to be futuristic or oh-so-far-out-there cuts there are instead pieces that border on the minimalist. And it’s all blue, save for the leggings and the tiniest hint of metallic gold hardware. Blue. Blue. Blue. Even the guest next to me, an American in Paris if the cliche is to be believed, couldn’t help but remark at how this was a collection in which shades of blue followed shades of blue.

But to say this is a collection in which the chosen colour palette diluted the intended effect would be to overstate the in-person fact. Sadly, it’s going to appear that way in the pictures we capture. They’ll likely reveal colour and cut, the play between different shades of blue and varying sack shapes and cropped tops, but they aren’t likely to reveal designer Nana Aganovich’s play with cloth. That variation of cloth, the fact that silks with such a low thread count that silhouettes to be seen are paired against taught knits, that cords are used with more frequency then obvious blue denim, feels like the collection’s greater point.

To see all of Aganovich‘s autumn / winter 2011 / 2012 collection for its cuts and fabric colours, and not necessarily its colour palette, click on the thumbnails below and browse through the photos.