Ann Demeulemeester's place in fashion's pantheon is all but assured. But she's still got battles to wage. "I wanted to prove that color can fit into my world, too," she said after a show that brought almost unprecedented shades into her realms. It opened with deep-wine purples and grew to include flambéed orange and sea blue, too.

That's not to say the shift in palette radically altered Demeulemeester's perspective. Ann's man is, as ever, a Romantic and a sojourner. The Oriental resonances of the shapes she showed for Spring underscored this. Side-tied silk kimono tops took the place of waistcoats, bubbling out from beneath jackets, trailing sashes behind. That other designers—most notably Haider Ackermann, who also favors jewel tones—have trod this particular silk road didn't lessen its effect. Demeulemeester made it her own by undercutting Byronic preciousness with ease. She loosened her oftentimes stricter silhouette with wide, soft pants, some printed with casual stripes or graphic roses. They met her criteria for her own work: "sophisticated, strange, and strong."

Who—to paraphrase—wanders among the wanderers? Demeulemeester does. As much as her muse, she's a restless spirit. "There's this strange kind of freedom," she said of her man. "It's for someone who's really free." Count her in his company.