For fall, Sébastien Meunier considered William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience,” and backstage he described a “strong activist kind of woman. It’s a harder image than before. They’re accomplished women, free to be who and what they are.”
This theme surfaced the strong suits of the house and its incumbent designer. Inspired by the British poet’s work, Meunier’s exploration of the feminine soul started with boyish and tailored, almost historical, silhouettes that played well with the romantic proclivities of the Demeulemeester playbook. Elements were executed with precision, only to be taken apart. Underneath, the natural feminine shape pushed back, forcing garments to conform to it, upending the usual fluidity in gender that Demeulemeester is known for.
Jackets were sliced up and reformed as bustier dresses and fly-away crop tops. Peplum miniskirts puffed out at the hips in a flurry of fabric. Waists were highlighted by wide, multi-strapped leather belts, partially unbuckled. Shoulders were marked by padding in jackets and epaulettes slipped under jersey tops and knitwear. The tension between constraint and deconstruction, leather corseting and unbuckled straps implied a desire for armor, and hinted at the sense of freedom Meunier wanted his women to have.