“I am a perfectionist, it is my strength and my burden”

First leaning on the huge counter at the back, she slides towards you, a determined silhouette, her face lit up by benevolent blue-gray eyes and surrounded by long flowing hair. On her little finger, a silver ring adorned with a bird’s leg. A magician in her kingdom, Ann Demeulemeester, 62, gives an appointment in the store of the brand that bears her name, 800 square meters in the beautiful districts of Antwerp, Belgium, open since 1999.

They were refurbished in September 2021, according to his taste: geometric furniture installed on wooden bases; fitting rooms as large as bedrooms which open onto a tree-lined courtyard; old parquet completely repainted in black. games of light “clean and fresh” enhance all the shades of black and white, these minimal shades that have always sufficed for his wardrobe of ageless, romantic, fluid vagabonds, but cut to the millimeter, with the precision of a surgeon.

“People don’t realize how much fashion sucks at you. You can’t do anything else. » Ann Demeulemeester

The result of a year and a half of reflection and transformation, carried out with her husband met forty-five years ago, the decorator Patrick Robyn, and requested by Claudio Antonioli, who bought the label in 2020. “I always try to make happen what I see in my dream and I persevere until it is achieved., she says. I am a perfectionist: it is my strength and my burden. »

Since the takeover by the Italian entrepreneur, the house, for which Ann Demeulemeester now plays the role of adviser without putting her hand to the boss, has regained some brilliance, not only within these Antwerp walls, but also within the global geography of fashion. In June, the label will headline Pitti Uomo, Florence, a key menswear trade show with its new collection. “Claudio saved the brand, goes so far as to say Ann Demeulemeester. I am grateful to him. »

The Ann Demeulemeester store in Antwerp, Belgium.  In particular, the objects that she now creates are sold there.

In recent years, she has stayed away from it: in November 2013, the stylist announced without effusion that she was leaving fashion. To the amazement of the environment. “Leaving like this is not done, but I had been thinking about it for maybe five years, she explains. I had health alerts, I was tired of the hectic pace. People don’t realize how much fashion sucks at you. You can’t do anything else. It was a life that I had chosen, lived to the full, but consider that, in almost thirty years of fashion, I have never gone on vacation with my son…”

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