True to form, Ann Demeulemeester opened her show with a black and lean silhouette, for example leather fitted trousers under a short wrap skirt and tucked into low block-heeled buccaneer boots, gauntlet leather gloves and a short peplum jacket. The hair was a shock of gelled spikes adorned with her customary feathers, artfully placed to frame the face. Part punk, part bird of paradise, this was the wonderful work of hairstylist Eugene Souleiman.
Demeulemeester followed with a series of drape-backed dresses and long coats, some with collars that were raised to jaw height. Long black column dresses had slits unzipped to the thigh, while another was strapless and wrapped over one shoulder. A series of sleeveless cropped leather jackets had collars so large that they were more collar than jacket.
But just as we happily settled into familiar territory—i.e. sleeves that either wrap close to the arm or zip open cape-like, or layers of masculine tailoring such as a coat worn over a wrapped jacket, or dresses draped to reveal only the slightest pop of flesh—everything changed. It was as if she switched out the black cartridge for blue ink. We saw an entirely blue asymmetric leather skirt and peplum jacket with matching blue gloves. A belted blue kimono-style jacket was worn over trousers while another cropped peplum jacket and undulating skirt were so saturated in their blue that the folds looked like pages of a book consumed by its own ink.
While some designers reinvent themselves each season, Demeuleeester provides a reassuring consistency of style to her faithful followers. This season it was not about the shock of the new but the shock of the blue.