Last season Ann Demeulemeester lightened up, showing draped and wrapped togas in brilliant shades of orange. Today she returned to her familiar black and white tailoring (Edwardian jackets, narrow trousers tucked into riding boots), albeit with some of the twisting volumes that made her Spring collection such a breath of fresh air.
So was this a case of playing it safe? The designer said it was more a matter of balance: the strength of black protecting the fragility of white. That idea came across strongest in a look that combined a softly draped white shirtdress and a stiff black leather brace, the upper straps of which buckled around the torso, while the ones below hung loose. Consider it a Demeulemeester take on a traditional corset. "I wanted something to give women more of a masculine shape," she explained. A tough sell? Maybe not for fans of her brand of androgyny.
A more subtle interpretation came in the form of a delicate white poet blouse worn with a black waistcoat and narrow, slouchy pants. Other pieces—like heavy-gauge cardigan capes shaggy with fringe, and jackets layered with little vests embroidered all over with bells that jangled like a suit of armor—may not win her the converts that Spring's little dresses did, but they will be plenty pleasing to Demeulemeester loyalists.