At Ann Demeulemeester, I sat behind Grace Coddington, who I’m pretty sure was telling off-color jokes to Suzy Menkes, perched next to her. I caught the tail end of one punch line, “It depends what it smells like,” delivered in Grace’s wicked English accent. They howled with laughter. After The September Issue, there’s no shortage of reasons to love jolly Gracey, now we can add this one.
Ann is nothing if not consistent. Trends come and go, yet she marches undisturbed to the beat of her own slouchy, black-and-white, slightly Edwardian drum—usually with Patti Smith in tow. This certainly provides a strong brand identity, but it also eliminates the element of surprise. Or perhaps more accurately, one has to look harder for the surprises, which come as subtle, almost imperceptible permutations: a slightly longer hem here, a hint of color there. Dissecting a Demeulemeester collection can seem like an episode of CSI. The shift for spring came in the motocross theme, a twist on her favored equestrian references. The girls were decked out in leather and chains (including some heavy-duty face jewelry that dangled suggestively in their stoic scowls). There were biker jackets, leather pants, zippered tail coats, corsets, buckled wedges and bias-cut, floor-length skirts. The flash of white in a silkscreened seagull print felt almost shocking against the aggressive black backdrop. In all, another beautiful iteration of the signature Ann look.