She has given birth to witches with a grunge soul, to Victorian heroines from a cloak-and-dagger novel, with unisex boots on their feet. Models in which black is the predominant colour, in which a wealth of elements superimpose, form knots, intertwine, generating a constant movement of the lines. Low necks or austere cuts. Fur coats or bikers’ leather jackets, trench coats or pullovers with architectonic necks…Ann’s aim is to tell a story through the silhouette. Recurring elements of her fashion are poetry, fragility, strength, androgyny, visceral black, the rock and roll incarnated by her beloved friend Patti Smith.
1.- Who is Ann Demeulemeester?
Ann Demeulemeester, born in Waregem (Belgium) in 1959, is a fashion designer whose eponymous label Ann Demeulemeester collections are sold in over 30 countries worldwide. She is married to photographer Patrick Robyn with whom she has a son, Viktor. The couple live in Antwerp, in the only house in Belgium designed by Le Corbusier.
Initially, Ann did not felt very attracted by fashion. However, she discovered her fascination with people and portraiture in art school, which led her to begin thinking about clothing attire. From this, Ann went on to study fashion design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp from 1978 to 1981.
Ann found success almost immediately after her graduation, as just a year after it, she won the Gouden Spoel, an annually awarded prize to the year’s most promising fashion designer. Ann began working as a freelance designer for a few years, and then proceeded to release her own line in 1985 with her husband.
1986 was a very important year in her career. Along with her fellow students from the Antwerp Royal Academy, Ann went to London to showcase her designs. For this reason she is often referred to as a member of the ‘Antwerp Six’, the Belgian designers of the 1980s known for their deconstructivist styles of creating untraditional clothing lines.
Gothic, punk, and Japanese styles are among her main influences, providing a very specific aesthetic that she always tried to reformulate. She worked with the artist Jim Dine and drew much of her inspiration from the androgynous singer Patti Smith.
Despite being approached by several major fashion houses, Ann always wanted to preserve her independence, and chooses to remain with her own line. In November 2013, Ann Demeulemeester announced she was leaving her fashion house for personal reasons.
2.- A singular proposal
Ann Demeulemeester never thought of herself as a revolutionary. ‘I just follow my heart’, she said. Rules were not for her, she considered freedom the ultimate luxury. Ann always trusted her feelings to make decisions, knowing that ‘rebellion is a reaction to something you want to revolt against’. Untamed creations conceived by an irrepressible woman. This is why Ann Demeleumeester is among our ‘Singular Fashion Revelations’. As it should be.
Initially everyone thought it was crazy to have men and women parade together. But men and women live together and share the same things, why shouldn’t they do it on the catwalk as well?
I believe that if you have something to say, then you just have to do it. Good work finds its way in whatever time you’re in. If you want to start, then start, and don’t find a million excuses not to. It’s always a difficult time. When was it easy?
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