NEW BEGINNING: As scrawled on the hoarding that hid its renovation, it’s time for a new era for Ann Demeulemeester‘s Antwerp flagship store, which is slated to reopen on Sept. 2 after a complete overhaul.
The brand was acquired in 2020 by Claudio Antonioli. “Since the beginning of this project, my mission has been to preserve the brand’s ethos, of which the store is a big part. Antwerp is a city that has always fascinated me, and I’m happy to bring back a place that is the epicenter of the Ann Demeulemeester universe,” he said in a statement announcing the reopening.
Originally acquired in 1999 by the namesake designer and her husband Patrick Robyn, the store is located in Antwerp’s fashionable Zuid neighborhood rife with museums, art galleries and Art Nouveau buildings. The building itself was built in the 1880s as a school for seamen.
To best express the brand’s DNA, Robyn helmed the redesign of the 520-square-meter space, over two floors. Describing shopping as “a very intimate, even vulnerable moment” and hoping clothes purchased in-store would “remain loaded with memories, emotion and meaning.” He focused on fostering a comfortable atmosphere in which to browse or try pieces.
To achieve this, walls are draped in painter’s canvas, while ceiling and the restored original wooden floor are painted black. Lighting was made “soft yet crisp” by using a combination of natural and artificial light. He also designed the furniture and fixtures across the two sale floors.
All the better to browse the label’s latest men’s and women’s offerings, which will not be differentiated on the racks, as well as the range of homewear designed by Ann Demeulemeester herself and manufactured by Belgian home goods label Serax.