Ann Demeulemeester took the unusual action today of distributing a letter, handwritten in flowery cursive, explaining her decision to leave her namesake label. It’s thought the iconoclast is retiring from fashion.
“As a young girl,” the letter begins, “I dreamed of having a voice in fashion. I worked to realize this dream and I feel that I accomplished this mission…A new time is coming both for my personal life and the brand ‘Ann Demeulemeester.’ I feel it’s time to separate our paths.”
She goes on to say the label is an “adult brand now” and able to continue without her, though she stops short of saying who, if any one person, would replace her. She also says her next men’s and women’s collections, presumably the last by her hand, would be shown together on February 27.
One of the famed Antwerp Six group of avant-garde designers who emerged from Belgium in the 1980s, Demeulemeester blazed a trail with artful, poetic, gothic collections for women and, later, men. Her more recent collections, such as fall 2013, have referenced her influential earlier work, perhaps foreshadowing today’s announcement.
But look on the bright side. She’ll now have a lot more time to hang out in her ivy-covered, Le Corbusier-designed house — the only one of its kind in Antwerp — and invite lifelong friends like Patti Smith over.