Englishman, Simon Holloway may be a classicist at heart, but he is clearly attuned to the energy of the here-and-now. Since taking over the creative helm of this storied knitwear house, he’s revamped the label’s fashion footprint, launching runway and reimagining the modern possibilities of handcrafted luxury.

What does luxury mean to you in five words or less...

Timeless, hand-crafted, exclusive, noble, cultured.

Artisan heritage, Halston and sporty ease were all on your mind for Fall '17. How did these inflect the collection?

Halston used Agnona fabrics liberally during the 1970s. In fact, there is a photo of Mr. Halston on the roof of the Agnona mill in Biella wearing a taupe suit. He looked so chic so that color became important to me. The entire concept of ‘sportswear’ was pioneered and perfected by Halston and it remains modern and novel today. I loved the idea of positioning Agnona as the ultimate in European luxury sportswear.

How has the runway shifted the way you visualize the label?

Agnona has always represented style on an unparalleled level of quality. The seasonal outings are a way to celebrate that stylish legacy in collections for today. I take the innovative spirit of Agnona's past and create clothes that have built-in contemporary ease but always recalling the beauty of our heritage.

You've describe yourself as an ‘unabashed classicist,’ but you clearly design for the here-and-now. How do you strike the perfect balance?

Honestly, the balance isn't easy to achieve, but the tension between the classic and modern is the creative sweet spot. Agnona's pre-a-porter was born in the 1970s with soft fluid tailoring and knitwear - it was the birth of ready-to-wear but with a couture fabric legacy. What's more modern than that?

What’s your favorite discovery about the brand (and its archives) made during your tenure?

Certainly the wealth and depth of creativity - Agnona is often perceived as a camel coat and nice knitwear. In reality, it has a history of expressive color and fabric innovation developed for the most forward-looking and avant-garde designers of the 1960s and 70s. I played with this quite liberally for the SS18 collection shown in Milan in September. Agnona's secret history of color and beauty is a revelation in style.

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