"Ann is my friend. She makes clothes that make me feel like myself. The clothes of my dreams, of my youth." So said Patti Smith, before loping off backstage to think out the improvised voice-over she'd promised as part of Ann Demeulemeester's show. What followed were 20 of those good Demeulemeester minutes in which the idea of running away to be a full-time member of her tousle-haired gang of rock/poet people suddenly seems completely compelling. Call it what you like—a look, a formula, a uniform—there is always some new slant in the layers of dark, slouchy, traily coats, jackets, shirts, pants, and skirts in Demeulemeester's repertoire. As a fashion shortcut to looking elegantly wasted without drugs, it works.

For spring, the designer's injection of change was in the flyaway floppiness of cutaway jackets, the fine ticking stripes used for vests, and the way the air-blown, ombré-dyed shirts were loosely tied to bunch at the waist. Underneath, there were leg solutions that, blessedly, did not involve a single pair of leggings. One was a bias-pieced skinny fluted pant; the other, slouchy, wide pants riding low on suspenders. All these were marched out on another great-looking antidote to a trend that has run amok this season: non-platform, wickedly pointy wedge boots with an ankle strap. That gave the models an easy stride, rather than the tottering gait that's been slowing down other runway proceedings, but as the Ann-gang whipped by, the details flashed: pearls strung into spiderweb vests, and assortments of long, metal chains slung as necklaces. Demeulemeester's is a personal universe, to be sure—but it's as authentic and believable as they come.