Ann Demeulemeester [an ending… a new beginning?]…

It was with equal doses of surprise, sadness and a kind of premature nostalgia that I received the news of Ann Demeulemeester’s departure from her own fashion label, two weeks ago, in a handwritten note sent across the media. It started like this: ”As a young girl I dreamed of having a voice in fashion. I worked hard to realize this dream and now I fell that I accomplished this mission. I always followed my own path…”

ad tumblr rasolarisAnn Demeulemeester with her son Victor, via tumblr

Graduated from the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1981, Demeulemeester quickly added her distinct, highly individual aesthetic among the original Antwerp Six, launching her own line in 1985.

She lives and creates in an expanded (to include her atelier) concrete cubic construction, a Le Corbusier building she bought with her husband, the photographer Patrick Robyn, when they were both students, the building was a derelict and they had help from their parents… talking about lucky opportunities… It is the only Le Corbusier building in Antwerp, dating from 1925. 

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via tumblr

adm_1989-1            adm_1991-1

In her dynamic, poetic style influenced by the punk movement, her gothic designs are fluid yet structured, avant-garde yet wearable, moody; her dark, monochrome palette of black has been enhanced over time, with countless shades of grey and a few surprising, playful springs of colour; her sources of inspiration include the poetry of Rimbaud and the rebellious androgyny of her friend/muse/sometimes model, Patti Smith.

patti smith for ad tumblr ankosvPatti Smith by Annie Leibovitz for Ann Demeulemeester, via tumblr

Ann Demeulemeester is, first and foremost an artist; she became a fashion designer because, three years into art school, she was more interested in what the art models were wearing, than the drawing itself. 

                                                              adm_2000-1     adm_1998-1

She went on designing cloths that move you and move with you, impeccable, timeless, trend- and fashion-proof.

aw 2010-11b aw 2010-11e aw 2011-12 aw 2011-12b ss 2007b ss 2009ss 2008 ss 2008e ss 2009c ss 2009bss 2009d ss 2009fss 2009e ss 2012ss 2011 ss 2012bss 2013c ss 2013d

Her creations, season after season, did not just bring Ann clients; they brought her devoted followers!…

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The future? “Nothing precisely, I never plan things, the future is more exciting if it stays open… I’m aware of time and try to live my life to the fullest…” [Ann Demeulemeester interview with Elizabetta Maze for NNM.Studio].


17 thoughts on “Ann Demeulemeester [an ending… a new beginning?]…

  1. Thanks for sharing and it’s interesting to see some of her clothes being modelled by old men on the catwalk! I like the AD designs though I’ve yet to find something that would fit me as the cut tends to be a little too large for me. Would be interesting to see what she might get onto next…

    • Thank you so much Virginia! She is such an inspiration in today’s fast forward, fast food, fast want-all have-all consumerism (and we need more of those little bright stars for good balance)…

  2. Too true… not easy to follow one’s vision and still leave such a strong mark (and not only in the fashion world)! It was precisely this virtue I admired her for (and the fantastically perfect trouser cut); and can’t wait to see what else she will come up with in the future.
    Martine Sitbon had somehow gone under my radar in the recent years, thanks for reminding me, need to get uptodate.
    Antwerp is great, always evolving, always cool. I don’t visit very often (can you believe that?) but whenever I do, I love it! Was there in October and soon I’ll be posting about it, so watch this space 🙂 I remember many years ago, we were visiting with a friend and got lost; turned a corner and fell on Dries window, the shop in the Docklands… after the obligatory window licking we went on our way only to realize, looking left and right, that we were in the window hooker area… girls on windows everywhere! Antwerp, in my eyes, is the coolest city ever since! The girl windows are getting less and less nowadays and the whole area got a full facelift, but Antwerp remains a port city with the ambience that goes with it!

  3. I was very sad to hear of her decision. I can’t help thinking an artistic soul like her didn’t want to contend with the furiously changing commercial marketplace. Things are so different from the nineties and she was one who was always true to her vision, never making radical seasonal changes, simply evolving. The current market place doesn’t show enough respect for that. I miss Martine Sitbon too, a designer with a similarly unique point of view. And on another semi-related note, Antwerp is one of my favorite cities.Do you visit there much? Now if Dries ever shuts up that beautiful shop and calls it a day, I will truly mourn…

  4. She always managed to create the masculine look with a feminine line. As long as this was her decision I’m happy..I can understand someone reaching the point of wanting to re-charge the batteries before blasting off somewhere again.. xxx

    • … and the most impeccable trouser cut ever! l’m also happy for her… but the little kid in me just doesn’t wanna let go of her favourite things! Curious about her next move, hopefully soon… xxx

  5. Ann Demeulemeester will be missed. It will be interesting to see what develops in the future. One of my favorite pieces in the Met’s PUNK:Chaos to Couture was dress by Ann. Not cut for me, but beautiful: (Another favorite was the Moschino I wrote about~)

    The dress is from Spring/Summer 2000 and is made of a white cotton/silk knit with black silk tulle layer embroidered with black seed-bead test from Patti Smith’s “Woolgathering”: “He did turn to wave as I ran and his open eyes caught mine.”


    • Yes I’m very curious about the future… can’t believe she’d just stop here. Love this idea of quotes from Smith’s novel on the dresses (although the one in the Met’s not for me either)… so you’ve been to this exhibition? I’m now officially Green With Envy!! xxx

      PS: both Moschino and your dress are exquisite!

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