Ann Demeulemeester, one of fashion’s poetesses may have bowed out from her eponymous house but at “Ann Demeulemeester”, it was almost business as usual for its fall collection in Paris. Demeulemeester, who announced her departure to friends and media in November with a handwritten letter, left her house in the hands of long-time trusted collaborators, Mirjam van den Akker, Patrick Van Ommeslaeghe and Sébastien Meunier.
For their first collection, tailoring on soft fabrics and draped arrangements spoke of fluid constructions (or de-constructions as it were), fully grounded but still polymorphous. Signature long/short combinations came together to form the complete picture and suggested a more urban, sleek twist.
A handful of menswear looks appeared, with golden accents sandwiched between darker ones. It was a denim jacket wedged under a coat, socks peeking under a trouser hem, no more. On the women, it was monochrome silhouettes throughout, with only an after-thought tonal play, brought by thick textured fabrics. A double-breasted coat was de-structured by its soft material, flowing into a cape-like shape. Seams disappeared under a fold here, or replaced by buttoning there.
As far as Demeulemeester collections go, this was played rather safely. If one must find fault, it was that few risks were taken in these sharp silhouettes. But it is still early for the designing trio. What it did show was a sound mastery of the house rules, and that the namesake designer is still very much a muse to the house she built. The trademark pure lines of Demeulemeester were all the more evident for this apparent simplicity, as were the trailing ribbons; that cemented that it is in safe hands with the design team lead by Meunier – or so it can be construed as he came out to bow at the end. As with the garments shown today, the seams of this transition are there, but they were discreet and well hidden.