Demeulemeester is only one of the latest designers to bow out of fashion following the recent departure of Jil Sander from her eponymous line in October. As one of the original Antwerp Six, Demeulemeester helped catapult Belgian designers onto the fashion map with her intensely dark, glamour. Her fellow Belgians from that group, Helmut Lang and Martin Margiela have also departed from their lines in recent years. Demeulemeester said she had prepared for her exit in concert with the company, controlled by entrepreneur Anne Chapelle, “and they feel ready to bring the brand further into the future.”
Fittingly her final collection was filled with stunning gothic black and white art nouveau prints with stirring pops of color used in the most unexpected way, all accessorized with oversized wimple style headpieces made of raffia that veiled the eyes. Demeulemeester opened her show with a model sporting black micro shorts, a wide hip slung belt and a sheer tunic blouse under a dramatic flocked black velvet redingote with fluttering sleeves. The slim silhouettes with angular and asymmetrical cuts gave way to Demeulemeester’s tough girl punk aesthetic.
The prints were designed by her son Victor Robyn, a graphic designer. The collaboration yielded a wild growing wisteria used throughout on sheer blouses, trousers, dresses, coats, and sheer patterned tattoo leggings. Her darkly twisted take on blooming wisteria was first seen in Demeulemeester’s recent SS14 menswear collection. The poetic sentiment of her collection was lightened up considerably with an injection of bright hues ranging from rustic pink to nude beige and a bright ruby red. Among the ruby red ensembles was a sleeveless shift dress with matching leggings in the same motif. The bright red hue gave way to a nude beige and rustic pink seen on daywear and evening dresses.
Demeulemeester’s most devoted fans will be disappointed to learn of her departure, and it is indeed very sad to see her go. Not surprising, Ann Demeulemeester bowed out with a handwritten letter to her staff signed at the end with an “X” to represent a single kiss. We will all miss her.