Erik Satie's Trois Gymnopédies, one of the most exquisite pieces of music ever composed, set the mood for a particularly poetic collection from
Ann Demeulemeester. And it came from a place that, in its own peculiar way, was poetic too.
Backstage, the designer was wearing some silver jewelry she'd cast from birds' feet from her own backyard. That had got her thinking about animals in mythology, in particular the faun, half man, half goat. On her catwalk several models were head to toe in goat fur. With some the fur was touched with red, as if by the glow of a sunrise at the dawn of the world. More poetry.
Demeulemeester's other models were hybrid creatures too, attenuated, black-clad, birdlike, their hair extended into feathery outcrops by Eugene Souleiman, their brows brushed to fierceness by Rudi Cremers. They brought to mind a lost tribe of Amazonian warrior women, bodies slung with belts and bandoliers that were loaded with feathers instead of bullets. It was a deliberately provocative metaphor, Demeulemeester's way of giving peace a chance—or so she claimed postshow—but these women nevertheless looked lean and mean enough to dip their quills in some exotic poison before sending them flying. Not for nothing the burst of Tchaikovsky and the echoes of Black Swan.
The collection was truly about those belts: loose, trompe l'oeil attachments, corset-laced and bunching in the back like a bustle, crushing ruffles, forcing fabric into folds. With leather leggings, wedge boots, and one of Demeulemeester's laced jackets or waistcoats, they made for a strong, dramatic silhouette. "My job is to give beauty," said the designer, in which case she can fairly claim a bonus.