PARIS--"Wow, this looks a fashion funeral," whispered a photographer setting up his camera as the Ann Demeulemeester show was about to start. Held in a convent on the Parisian left bank, the crowd was suitingly dressed head to toe in black. Was it monastery chic, or paying homage to Ann’s somber taste? We pondered.
"I think I’m ready to move to something pure, clean, but yet abstract," Ann told us minutes before the show. And indeed she did: the runway consisted of a gradient starting in a pure white, moving onto touches of black, then full-on black. Old Ann, new Ann: she created a balance between a soft, pared down silhouette and her love for layers.
The transition from white to black occurred through prints: Ann created giant patterns onto fabric, that she then cut into clothes: the motifs turned into abstract, haphazard touches of black -- at first rare and then gradually denser, for white to slowly fade out. Because many pieces were cut out of the same giant print, “Every piece is totally unique,” she said. The silhouettes were reminiscent of her heyday--contradictory lengths, much strapping: large neck pieces covering the entire chest, paired with unileg skirts.
Asymmetrical is back, she seemed to suggest, as many one-legged trousers, and partly cropped dresses appeared on the runway.
Material demonstrated as much contrast: thick, slightly padded silks were sewn together with skin-thin dyed silk, on unexpected racer back waistcoats.
The collection also reinvented the modern suit: monochrome ensembles were composed of cropped leather jackets, three quarter trousers with a very slight flare (yes a flare – but I said slight!), with matching, open toe wedges.
Amusing accessories included metal mesh glasses. (Or were they headbands? Something that artfully covered the eyes, but hopefully not vision). A nod to Lady Gaga, perhaps?
Regardless, Ann will be Ann. "I don’t want to leave anything behind, evolution comes naturally, I only listen to myself, to my soul." she said calmly.
**All photos by Eulalie Juster.