There has been surprisingly little talk of Sebastien Meunier’s taking the reins at Ann Demeulemeester. Perhaps that’s because the designer herself left so quietly and with such grace – or perhaps it’s because Meunier has slotted right in, aesthetic-wise, and this only his second season.
There’s something to be said for the ‘if it ain’t broke’ approach here: the label has such a coterie of aficionados that likes their tailoring just so, their Demeulemeester signature pieces all lined up, so why upset the apple cart?
But he did slightly – only slightly. For Spring/Summer 2015, the Demeulemeester customer will have the option of lilac and a tonal blush pink on wafting dresses and tunics. That isn’t as divisive as it might sound. Those shades were worked into a collection that seemed to take strength in its own roots and pushed boundaries only slightly.
Alongside the check-list (notched lapel waistcoat, drop-crotch trousers, deconstructed blazers, sheer layers and, of course, dozens of dripping ties – what can they also serve to fasten?) Meunier introduced a whirligig jacquard pattern that he used on coats and outerwear as texture, in beading and ascetic embellishment, and as a print. There were entirely white looks too, a gentler sort of romance to the usual dark and chthonic take. As such, retailers may well be sighing with relief at its palatability beyond the core for spring.
What this collection translated to, without any detraction, was ‘a safe pair of hands’. Perhaps that it all that is wanted here – the instinct is rather that than the founder’s vision is overwhelmed by new blood and new ideas. And that isn’t what the faithful are interested in. This collection preserved the beauty and elegance, the poetic depth of Ann Demeulemeester’s own, highly original aesthetic, and it moved that forward in baby steps. If Meunier continues to inch towards the new every season, this will be an interesting and sensitive journey.