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ann demeulemeester spring/summer 15

Sébastian Meunier presents his first menswear collection as creative director of Ann Demeulemeester, inspired by Robert Rauschenberg and Louise Bourgeois, it's all about the attitude of fabrics.

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Invitations for the Ann Demeulemeester show came in perforated black and white varieties, ticking some of the most fundamental boxes in the retired founder’s aesthetic. “We wanted something beautiful in a nice space with nice people,” Sébastien Meunier told i-D after the show, echoing the charisma of the designer, whose life’s work and future legacy he’s been entrusted with. When a designer steps down but is still with us, it’s not as if you can just set a new direction for the house and lightly riff on original trademarks. Ann is still watching and so are her diehard fans, who expect to see her label carried on with the same exceptional sensibility Ann possessed as a designer. Friday at the house’s traditional show venue, Couvent des Cordeliers, Meunier did just that.

Brian Eno’s Passing Over set an appropriately ceremonious tone for the show, which took inspiration from Robert Rauschenberg and Louise Bourgeois in what Meunier called “the attitude of the fabrics”. The cuts seemed sharper than Ann’s and the styling more minimal and modern, but the silhouette and – more importantly – the intricacy were there. Jackets with a crumbled-up effect or transparent stripes completely captured the essence of the house, while breathtaking layered pieces with heavy floral embroidery in gold on transparent fabric felt like a tribute and something new all at once. “Ann is my DNA. She’s my mentor. I worked with her. I will continue what she did,” Meunier said after his first standalone menswear show as creative director of the house. “But of course it will evolve step by step. We have to be aware that it is modern.”