On reflection: Ann Demeulemeester
A chronicle of her key career moments
To briefly summarise the work of Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester is near impossible. Following the news of her departure from the industry, Buro 24/7 chronicles the key dates the fashion hero across a nearly 30-year career.
Ann Demeulemeester enrols at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, where she subsequently leaves as one of the legendary 'Antwerp Six'. Within the walls of the institution she wasn't initially comfortable, finding fashion at the time uninteresting. She soon became fond of photography and met photographer Patrick Robin, her then future business partner.
Ann Demeulemeester by Patrick Robin, 1978
Demeulemeester wins the 'Golden Spindle' award, an initiative designed to support the Belgian textile industry. The organiser's objective was to link designers and manufacturers. Designers from the Antwerp Academy were usually ignored, due to their small ordering capacity.
Golden Spindle Award, 1982
The year that saw the designer's debut collection entitled 'Light', created in partnership with Patrick Robin. It was an A/W collection which was shown in exhibition format. There was immediate interest from the buyers of New York department store Barneys. The line instantly sold out, and has been stocked there consistently ever since.
Ann Demeulemeester AW/87
Demeulemeester shows in Paris, a city she had previously always avoided, staying loyal to London. The first Parisian show was held at a gallery where models paced across an improvised podium in dark clothes, inspired by gothic punk. Journalist Cathy Horyn, who was then writing for the Washington Post, called the collection the "reflective destructive side of fashion." And Ann Demeulemeester's work went on to be featured in Vogue.
Ann Demeulemeester SS/92
Visionaire Magazine Issue 7, 1992
The designer presents her first men's collection, which showed an androgynous mix on the catwalk alongside female models. Four years after her Paris debut, Demeulemeester's style has undergone some changes; a lengthened silhouette which has become more subtle and elegant.
Ann Demeulemeester AW95
Ann Demeulemeester opens its first boutique in Antwerp, up to this the label had only retailed out of department stores. Today, the two-storey boutique is a mandatory visit for in the city.
Ann Demeulemeester's first boutique in Antwerp, 1992
The year of the label's first men's show in Paris. Models walked to the song Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground and the spirit of the collection was "poetic anarchy," said the designer herself.
Ann Demeulemeester SS/06
The year of 'Collection Blanche'. On the anniversary of the brand, Demeleumeester released a compilation of her most significant designs over the prior twenty years...
Ann Demeulemeester 'Blanche', 2008
This year, Demeleumeester wrote a hand written note to her company saying, "Ann Demeulemeester is an adult brand, able to develop and grow without me." And in the meantime, fashion industry insiders are left wondering who can possibly lead the brand next.
Ann Demeulemeester invitation 2013
Ann Demeulemeester SS14