Ann Demeulemeester spring—summer 1999.
How do you suggest movement? How do you un-balance a body? How do you ‘cut’ a garment that challenges gravity? These question result, with Ann Demeulemeester, in clothes that evoke the illusion of movement, even when the wearer is standing still. Trousers slip down a little, a cardigan gapes open, a draped dress exposes a shoulder: mainly impressions of a casualness that would never betray the complicated study which was often required to achieve it.
How can I make a collection from painter’s canvas? That was the basic question behind the Summer 1999 collection. This favourite material, which she had already used for invitations, displays and even tables, was ‘translated’ into an almost exclusively white collection. The shapes, developing further on those she started for the Winter 1998-99 collection, were conceived from what Ann Demeulemeester describes as ‘zero base’, the source of the ‘shape issue’; to set aside the repertoire of traditional patterns and to confront herself with the essence of a garment: a piece of material which you can wrap around yourself.
This ever-recurring issue, and the difficult task she has set herself, seem to be Ann Demeulemeester’s raison d’être. A ‘de-depicted’ world, which allows entirely new ideas to develop, in which a simple intervention is all-important, in which nothing disrupts the investigation of the body, or wearability. And a world in which the whole gamut of emotions evoked by a garment — from surrender to rejection, from security to alienation — can be meticulously constructed …
The cloth is holy.