Who knows what it really is. Miuccia declared that “beauty by itself is too easy” and sent down the Milanese runway (Prada’s Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear collection) looks for a geisha with a power twist. Fast forward a few days to the Parisian runway (Ann Demeulemeester’s Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear collection) and opposites were still at play courtesy of Ann, to whom "beauty can be frightening." Tim Blanks of style.com reported what that means and it’s all poetic. Then I saw that black pagan dress and I got it. Yes, please!
Ann Demeulemeester does edgy-modern-rocker-punk femininity par excellence. It may confuse with its lack of trendiness yet entice with its rebellious timelessness and ease. For me the so called seal-of-approval, if one could be dispensed at a visionary, came by the way of an article by Mark Holgate “Kindred Spirits” published in Vogue US Fashion Rocks Supplement (Fall 2007). Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, and spread over two pages, was a café scene in which Ann hung out with the “first lady of punk” (quite a notion if you ARE punk), Patti Smith. I still have the copy. The story goes that in 1976 sixteen-year-old Ann came across Patti’s album “Horses” and thought that she was going to know her. It happened, so the conclusion is Ann delivers on her visions and can predict the future. And the vision du jour / future is “Pagan Glamour.” Blessed be.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 | PARIS | By Tim Blanks
"Beauty can be frightening," Ann Demeulemeester declared today. Quite what she meant by that was semi-clarified by a show that was, she said, inspired by "the duality of butterflies," solid bug versus ethereal wings. So it figured that her new collection was a thing of strong extremes. Her butterflies didn't flutter by—they kicked butt. There was a flavor of manga martial arts in the super-short, corset-belted dresses and jackets over jackets. They represented a tough new stance for Demeulemeester. "Without losing the poetry," she was quick to add: That came in the form of pagan priestesses in floor-sweeping gowns. But even those outfits were edged in by anatomical leather harnesses.
It was time, the designer felt, for something new. A new sleeve, for instance. As Demeulemeester hiked skirts, she let sleeves fly away like wings, or she folded them closer to the body, like wings at rest. The long, flowing silk gowns, on the other hand, had a different kind of airiness, billowing rather than streaming, neo-medieval, monastic. "I didn't know what year it was," Demeulemeester said post-show. Year zero, perhaps, of a new chapter in her career.
And how did beauty have the potential to be frightening? For Demeulemeester, it was all about that insectoid duality. Light and dark. Beautiful and deadly.
Related: Fashion | Prada does a bit of Geisha