As a reference point for her new man, Ann Demeulemeester imagined Virginia Woolf's Orlando arriving in the twenty-first century and crashing the avant-garde. Who cares about the obtuseness of the inspirationit resulted in the designer's strongest menswear show to date. By striking a perfect balance between power and vulnerability, she finally realized her oft-stated quest to find the tenderness in the heart of men. The power was plain to see in the graphic palette and the clear definition of her signature layering, helped by white piping that illuminated the all-black tailoring. Where once upon a time there would have been a mass of textures and trailing asymmetry, here there were a couple of jackets layered over each other, with a greatcoat on top. (White shearling? Yes, please!) Add trousers tucked into boots throughout, and the silhouette was radically simplified, but evocative nonetheless.
Demeulemeester's models usually look like dreamy poètes maudits. Here they came across as handsome princes. The fairy-tale association didn't end there. A silhouette drawn from an illustrated fantasy customized T-shirts, buttons, and cuff links. Such details catered to the dandy in the Demeulemeester man, but there was much morea final group gleamed with jet embroidery, the extremity and expense of which was enough to make the designer light-headed when she thought about her production schedule.