When editors and buyers walked into Ann Demeulemeester's Boulevard Berthier venue tonight, they were greeted by waiters balancing trayfuls of Champagne. A peace offering after the icy conditions at last season's show? Could be, but any buzz the bubbly stuff provided had dissipated by the time the first look hit the runway, an hour and ten minutes behind schedule.
As it turned out, the thirties-flavored gowns Demeulemeester showed in white or black did look as elegant and alluring as a brimming flute. That's not entirely an idle metaphor: Her evening silhouette was almost unfailingly long and narrow on the bottom and frothily layered on the top. Silk halters and tanks provided coverage under crinkly vests, billowy blouses (really just sleeves attached to each other across the shoulders and back), and blatant showpieces made from arrow-thin feathers.
The overall effect was frankly rather tricky, especially at a time when women are rediscovering the joy of a little black dress. Luckily, for day she kept things simpler. Bejeweled swags and bibs that hung from the hips or neck almost certainly won't make it into stores, but her full trousers and swaggering jackets will, and that should keep her ardent fansthe kind who wouldn't leave the house in a rufflecoming back for more.