The pain of separation doesn't always hit immediately after the fact. At Ann Demeulemeester, up to now, the jury was still out as to what to feel about succession. Today, Sebastien Meunier delivered a clarification that explained it all, for those who caught the clues.
Demeulemeester was always a quiet one. That her succession be gently eased should have come as no surprise. It is details that give away the switch. For example, the heavier focus on art. On one hand, Gabriel Orozco's work depicting prehistoric skeletons, stripes producing an Op Art effect that changed their structural appearance; on the other, Katharina Sieverding's intense self-portraits and daguerreotypes leant their cinematic, flickering lines and that flash of red.
Further proof, the tailoring. Meunier's Ann is a tightly constructed, sharply defined affair, even when reaching for the deconstruction of flowing layers. Case in point, a neckline that slides down, to the limit of the "nip slip" but retained by a cunning stitch in time. Long black shifts had tabs to adjust them on the side, also seen in the back of a frock coat. Meunier pointed out their function, carving out petal shapes in the folds of soft fabric. Further reinforcing the structure play were tick leather belts, practically cummerbunds that cinched the waist and allowed a modicum of variation. As with the menswear, the result turned out more rocker than poet, with handsome, space-defining jackets and slender gams.
As far as replacing the namesake designer at Ann Demeulemeester goes, the process has been pretty painless, a gentle easing for acceptance rather than a thunderclap. The collection checked the boxes for Ann fans: tailoring, superb fabrics ― one woven wool just begged to be checked out up close with its geometric designs ― and layers. Outerwear was a clear winner, offering jackets that will keep on giving long after their hypothetical season has passed. It may not be how successions have gone recently in other houses, but here it's time to stop waiting for that other shoe to drop.