Stoicism and beauty;
Passion and mayhem
There are some singular collections that just get you. You know what I mean. You’re slightly offended that the designer has intentionally ripped off your style. You’re sure they saw you walking down the street once and were moved to make an entire show dedicated to you, anonymously. You hate the collection because of it. Yeah, I know.
But then there are designers whose entire ethos fits into your narrative … the designers whose collections add to your very being. They understand you, and the looks comfort you. You smile and ooh and ahh as you see yourself reflected in the clothing they are creating and the atmosphere they are projecting. You feel seen and understood. Like they are creating for an army of Yous.
For me, it is Ann Demeulemeester. It always has been. I hope it always will!
And you know, I had my doubts. I think the whole Ann D Army did. Last year, our beloved romantic Sébastian Meunier, who was prone to taking unicorns and sailors as his inspiration, stepped down. Taking his place was Claudio Antonioli, the brain behind streetwear lines Palm Angels, Off-White…. Street Luxury. The thought of what was to come was upsetting me all year. I didn’t know if I could handle Ann Demeulemeester evening sweat pants, even if they were in cashmere (horse hair? Maybe.) I thought for sure there would be logos everywhere. That I would have hated even more. But instead, the collection was stripped back to its sophisticated androgynous essence.We went back to the monochrome (Meunier was dabbling in quite a bit of color, much to my mixed delight and at times cloying confusion), we had impeccable tailoring, staple pieces, suits and vests and hats.
The show begins outside, in a pristine French countryside, a chalet beckons. It is quiet countryside opulence. Romantic outfits. All is still. The breeze tousles long, natural hair. Long, thin braids dangle down, mirroring the ribbons that hang from so many of Ann’s timeless pieces in years past, seen in multitude this collection.
Toward the end, the music picks up and we are taken inside the chalet. The place is in total decay and decline. Paint is peeling. Furniture is stripped of their upholstering. The models are walking ferociously. The film turns to a soft and saturated color. And lo! The garments look even better this way. The strings, the braids, the billows and drapes and fur. The poetic soul on display. Stoicism and beauty on the outside. Passion and mayhem within. THIS is Ann Demeulemeester.
The lookbook is comprised of close up portrait shots, reminiscent of Robert Mapplethorp, shot by the photographer Willy Vanderperre, who has supported the Antwerp Six since their inception. He started out as a fashion designer himself, before switching over to photography. See some of our favorite looks and moments below: