I will forever be partial to labels designed with a clear purpose in mind, especially when they have a woman at the helm and she tells me things like, "I throw everything in the washing machine. Even my stretch suede, I don't have the time nor do I like the chemicals used in dry cleaning and I don't like everything perfectly pressed anyway!" So, when it comes to L'Agence I'm partial like a cat is to a soft, cuddly, squeaky toy stuffed with catnip.
That woman is Margaret Maldonado and she heads the eponymous West Coast super-agency that represents some of the most sought-after stylists in Hollywood and worldwide; Andrea Lieberman, Marjan Malakpour, Jen Rade, Christina Ehrlich, Tiina Laakkonen. In 2008, she created L'Agence, firstly with a line of the softest, finest tees and simple tank dresses I've seen so far. She has since, slowly and thoughtfully expanded each collection to include some fantastic evening dresses - the kind you only need to throw on with a pair of heels and you're ready, butter-soft suede jackets and shorts, jersey and cotton trousers and the perfect maxi fishtail skirt. Of course, the line has been worn by everyone in Hollywood but it's also captured the attention of women elsewhere, looking for those key pieces they can always rely on. When I first wrote about the label for Harper's Bazaar in 2009, my then commissioning editor at the title, Sara Buys, and I went to their London showroom for a closer look and were both in awe of the simplest pieces; a tee here, a long tank top there, we wanted it all and we called it all in! Days later, some items found their way to a different shoot with Ali Hewson, the founder of Edun and co-founder of Nude cosmetics who is also married to a certain Mr Bono. She loved the jersey fishtail skirt and was photographed for the magazine wearing it!
I wrote about the label again for Vogue this year and I'm impressed at how the latest collections have evolved. I imagine Margaret as a super-cool mad scientist, at her Hollywood house, throwing different samples in the wash, wearing them, testing them and then coming up with some of the best fabric names I've come across; ultra-jersey, stretch-suede, power-mesh ("an amazing fabric that I use in lining to help achieve a better fit"). Here are some images from the Pre-fall and AW10 collections. Needless to say, I want it all!
All images by L'Agence.