The invitation was a flash of light in darkness, like the beginning of the universe. And in some respects it was: the beginning of a new universe, Ann Demeulemeester without Ann. In a shock move last November, she sent a scanned handwritten letter to the press, announcing her departure, declaring, “I trust the company and the people that worked hard with me. We prepared this step together and they feel ready to bring the brand further into the future.”
The mood was somber as we sat in the former monastery of Couvent des Cordeliers, that Ann loved so much. Of course, we didn’t expect fireworks, or the big bang that was implied; this had to be a slow burn. The brand decided to show both men’s and women’s on the same runway, no doubt to enforce the new vision for the house, in one swoop.
There was an understandable lack of the poetic drama that we are familiar with at Ann’s shows, and the palette was stripped and strict, with solid blacks, whites, and touches of metallic in the menswear. The new team put out a solid collection that had many an editor nodding in admiration, and will surely prove a huge hit with the buyers. They draped, and folded and twisted the house codes in all the right ways, and the final section was classic Ann with the flowing ties and fluid volume.
It was a strong yet safe new beginning, laying all the right foundations to build on the future of Ann Demeulemeester, the label. We are waiting in anticipation for the next chapter that will see them take it, in Ann’s words, “further into the future…”