I never thought it would be possible, but after all the bright colors we’ve seen in other shows this morning, the sedate rock-and-roll palette of black, white, blue, and bone almost made the Ann Demeulemeester presentation calming by comparison. I don’t think that’s the effect Sebastian necessarily wanted, given the very blatant rock music theme to the collection, but this was much easier on the eyes, and maybe even a bit easier on the bodies wearing them, than others we’ve seen today.

Sebastien Meunier is still hardly known in the fashion community, despite the fact this is his second season for the label and it was actually a bit humorous to hear someone ask, “Ann’s a guy?” when he stepped out for his bow at the end of the show. His effect on the aesthetic was noticeable much more this season than last, however, and I’m sure I”m not the only one wondering if Ann still has any input.

Not that Sebastien has tampered with the general silhouette all that much, mind you. He still kept things loose and structured, though perhaps a bit more flowing. There are still noticeable and definable architectural elements especially in his jackets. He’s also kept the largely monochromatic color scheme, with a touch of light blue toward the end being the only real departure for the typically dark and brooding look common to the label.

Where Meunier steps away is with the embellishments and some of the finer touches. Bead work on vests and coats. Trailing ribbons extending from hems and down the backs. A more decorative boot. A lot less leather and a lot more sheer. None of these things, on their own, are especially huge. Well, okay, the bead work is significant given that’s a dramatic step away from the aesthetic of the Antwerp Six, of which Ann was a member. Still, nothing here really comes across so heavy handed as to give one the impression Meunier is stepping away from the carefully constructed DNA of the brand. Rather, these feel more like tweaks, seasonal variations not meant to be a permanent part of the label’s look.

The whole 90’s rock vibe played well with the Parisian audience, especially the uncombed hair and dramatic makeup look that certainly has that up-all-night feel to it.  The style is a bit sloppy, but in an I-meant-to-do-that sort of way that belies the actual careful construction at work. These are strong, comfortable looks that will play very well in the retail market come Spring.

Ann Demeulemeester has always been about individualism, self expression, and breaking rules. Sebastian Meunier keeps that spirit alive while still staying true to the basics of the brand. This is a very good season.

Photo credit: Gio Staiano

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