For his debut collection as creative director of Ann Demeulemeester, Ludovic de Saint Sernin wanted to pick up where the label’s namesake founder had left off.
Symbolizing that handover was the feather that covered the chest of the first model. Or rather, it was a quill, in a nod to the letter the Belgian designer had penned to close industry contacts to reveal her departure.
“This is me taking this feather and writing a new chapter, a love letter to Ann that will set the tone for the whole collection,” de Saint Sernin told WWD in a preview, explaining this was no ordinary feather but one painstakingly recreated in leather and wood.
The next exit looked like a dead ringer for him, a nod to how he’d looked through those archives to “find himself.” After that, de Saint Sernin checked off Ann Demeulemeester-coherent longline jackets with an elbow seam to make sleeves conform to the arm, with white shirt cuffs visible, and worn with trousers.
From the sidelines, it wasn’t immediately evident that the cuts had been subtly tweaked to fit feminine curves or a straighter masculine silhouette, which is how he intended it.
Then came ample amounts of skin paired with house signatures like body-hugging leathers, asymmetrical knits, billowing sleeves pooling at the wrist. Right down to the great boots — with or without a stiletto heel, up to you.
For hardcore Ann devotees, it might seem a little hard to reconcile these seductive sashaying silhouettes with the quiet sensuality of the founder. But in the Instagram age, that’s what unbothered cool looks like: a bangin’ body and just the right amount of fabric to flaunt it.
De Saint Sernin considered the fall collection an exercise to prove he can make this archival vocabulary his own. He can put that feather in his cap.