By  on January 19, 2005

PARIS — Ann Demeulemeester, the edgy Belgian designer known for her poetic, rock ’n’ roll style, has a new investor and is planning to use the capital infusion to expand her business.

Anne Chapelle, who has been managing director of Demeulemeester’s Antwerp-based house since 1994, has acquired an undisclosed stake in Demeulemeester’s company, which is also partly owned by the designer’s husband, Patrick Robyn.

A spokeswoman for Demeulemeester called the deal a “partnership” that leaves Demeulemeester total creative freedom.

She declined to say whether Chapelle owned a majority stake. The agreement gives Chapelle’s holding company, called EDU NV, control of Demeulemeester’s brand, according to the spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, EDU has acquired majority control of the fledgling business of young German men’s wear designer Dirk Schonberger. Critically acclaimed for his sharp tailoring, Schonberger, who has dressed celebrities such as Mick Jagger, had fallen on difficult times recently.

He said the deal would allow him to funnel his creative juices into his clothes while leaving business and production concerns to Chapelle. Schonberger will show his clothes Jan. 30 in Paris during men’s fashion week.

Demeulemeester’s spokeswoman said EDU was interested in acquiring stakes in other young designers’ businesses as well.

As for Demeulemeester, she said Chapelle’s investment would accelerate development of the brand. She said the first fruits of the deal would be an expanded men’s collection, which Demeulemeester plans to show to the press and buyers in Paris in July. In the past, Demeulemeester has integrated a small capsule men’s collection into her women’s runway presentation.

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