Mar 6, 2023
A new chapter opened on Saturday for Ann Demeulemeester under the leadership of Ludovic de Saint Sernin. The designer, known for his sensual erotic style, took over the reins of the iconic house in December, which has been owned since 2020 by Milanese retailer Claudio Antonioli. This weekend he unveiled a first collection, embracing the Belgian designer’s legacy while infusing it with new energy.
The first silhouette in black and the last one in white were identical and acted as a manifesto. A long silk skirt, cut at an angle, fell sensually to the floor, and a leather piece shaped like a feather served as a bra. A sort of love letter that the young designer wanted to send to one of the famous members of the Antwerp Six, the six students of the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts from the class of 1981 who were renowned for their avant-garde aesthetic.
It is also a reference to the letter that Ann Demeulemeester wrote in 2013 to her close friends and admirers who had supported her from the beginning, announcing that she was leaving her house, founded in 1982. It is now up to Ludovic de Saint Sernin to write the next chapter. For this first collection, the 32-year-old designer, who also advocates gender-neutral fashion, delved into the archives and imbued Demeulemeester’s dark minimalist spirit, infusing it with his own vision, the uninhibited sexiness merging naturally with a certain androgynous romanticism.
Ludovic de Saint Sernin got straight to the point with a collection of essentials composed of a few iconic pieces. Many of the silhouettes seemed to be repeated, yet each time presenting a different detail. Like a series of superb skirts worn bare-chested, with the models covering themselves with their hands, or by crossing their arms. Sometimes they wore furry tops or open jackets exposing the belly.
Ludovic de Saint Sernin also showed long dresses in satin, knitwear or transparent chiffon tied at the neck or held up by straps, thin body-skimming tunics unbuttoned to the navel, as well as a series of pieces in black leather, such as shirts tied with cords, trousers and coats, worn by both men and women.
Black dominated the palette, in various shades, with just a few white pieces, such as the iconic ribbon-tied shirt with unbuttoned cuffs protruding from a black jacket or jumper. These neutral shades were complemented by just a few carmine red or chocolate garments. Leather riding boots completed the looks, high-heeled for her, flat for him.
Judging by the crowd of fans gathered around the Lycée Carnot, where the fashion show was organised on Saturday evening, Ludovic de Saint Sernin is leading Ann Demeulemeester into a new, more contemporary and desirable era, regaining a visibility that had been lost over time.
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