When a brand says its collection is inspired by a unicorn, a whole visual story immediately springs to the Millennial mind. Thankfully there were no pastels, glitter or Instagram filters in Sébastien Meunier’s collection for Ann Demeulemeester. The designer riffed on the mythical figure’s noble ancestry: said to be untameable, the unicorn is the symbol of Scotland.
There was an eerie, otherworldly feel to the metal headdresses, peplums and crinolines shaping the flowing silhouettes with trailing hemlines. These were all made of a single strand of silver metal, twisting round the waist of black tailored coats or crowning the shoulders of a structured jacket like minimalist epaulettes, almost skeleton-like in appearance.
This worked particularly well when paired with a billowing, canary-yellow silk dress, its asymmetrical hemline revealing stark silver metal panniers exaggerating the model’s hips, or a long white cotton dress with billowing sleeves, its semi-transparency hinting at the hidden structure. The metal frameworks traced the ghostly silhouette of Mary Queen of Scots, the figure the collection paid homage to: there were also redingotes in beautiful gold brocade and short vests worn over long blouses, hinting at Renaissance corsets.
Meunier based his interpretation of Mary Stuart on Bob Wilson’s play “Mary Said What She Said,” in which Mary is played by celebrated French actress Isabelle Huppert. The resulting dramatic silhouettes did feel more fitted to the stage than the streets, but some pieces were more translatable to urban life: a blood red silk shirt, its metal pannier just peeping out at the side, was worn with skinny leather trousers.