An all-white collection of clothes that cleaved close to the body signaled a change on the Ann Demeulemeester catwalk. Gone were the shadowy, poetic layers, replaced by pieces so clinical and precise they wouldn't have looked out of place in a Viennese fencing academy, or on the attendants of an upscale insane asylum (the white breastplates also looked like deconstructed straitjackets). Where there was volume, as in a silken parka or a jacquard coat, it was kept in check by a wide elasticated cummerbund that could probably work Spanx-like wonders on a wayward midriff, as well.
The show seemed over in a flash, but while the audience was uncertainly applauding, it started up again, duplicated detail for detail in black, with the cotton of the first course often replaced by leather. "I wanted to see what would happen," said Demeulemeester of the switcheroo. "Things look quite different. It's a different emotion."
She was almost right. Of course, white cotton and black leather are scarcely of the same family, but while you might expect the leather to have a dark, vaguely threatening cast, it was extraordinary how sinister the purest white could look as well. It was an intriguing experiment. And we're glad that Ann does these things, so we don't have to.
Spring 2011 Menswear
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