What an irony—the one time Ann Demeulemeester doesn't have a Patti Smith tune on her soundtrack, the singer herself happens to be in Paris and ends up taking to the catwalk for the woman who is her most devoted fan in fashion. Smith's serendipitous presence confirmed this collection as something special for Demeulemeester. Like the message on pins and T-shirts that read "What remains is future," optimism and new energy radiated in the clothes.

True, the pale-faced models with their streaming hair still looked like poets manqué in their multilayers of black on black, and the silhouette was still essentially that droopy elongated one that's quintessential Ann. But she had done some serious work on the cut. Jackets had a sinuous cling, reflecting her claim that she wanted to cut life into the clothes to give strength to her fragile boys.

As for the palette, it was no longer entirely a case of kill-me-now colors. There was silver leather—in trousers, boots, a double-breasted jacket, a trench. And there were also velvet jackets in rust and deep-purple.

A brut alpaca coat and a shaggy gilet, meanwhile, had a pagan glamour—or as the designer herself put it, using a word one might not have expected from her lips: "elegance."