Nestled within the confines of a dimly lit, industrial space that once echoed with the sounds of trains, Stefano Gallici unveiled his inaugural collection as the creative director of Ann Demeulemeester. The reverberating clanks and echoes of locomotives served as a poignant reminder of the brand’s tumultuous journey over the past year.
In stark contrast to the brief interlude of Ludovic de Saint Sernin‘s tenure, which spanned a mere six months, Gallici embarked on his own unique path, steering the brand towards a darker, more visceral sensuality. This marked a distinct departure from the opulent allure glimpsed during his predecessor’s brief stint.
The runway bore witness to a transformation where bare skin yielded to the allure of sumptuous layering and tantalising transparencies. The diminutive feathered tops that had left an indelible mark in the previous season gave way to the weighty embrace of leather belts and cascading ribbons, gracefully trailing behind the models, adding an air of decisiveness to their stride along the extended catwalk.
Yet, amid these transformative shifts, Gallici remained faithful to the essence of Ann Demeulemeester’s aesthetic heritage. Elongated silhouettes, androgynous tailoring, and the iconic white shirts with cuffs extending past the wrist formed the foundational pillars of this collection. Additionally, subtle nods to the brand’s archival shows manifested in the sporadic bursts of color that punctuated the lineup.
´As expected, the colour palette remains anchored in its fundamental trio of black, white, and grey. However, these classic tones are sporadically enlivened with unexpected bursts of a mesmerising blueish purple, injecting an electrifying jolt into the overall aesthetic. The true fascination lies in the interplay of texture and translucency, as the brand artfully melds knits with leathers, meshes with cotton, fashioning garments that possess an intriguing sense of dimension and intricacy, all without relying on a vivid colour scheme.´ – Charles Daniel McDonald
As the show progressed, Gallici ventured into utilitarian terrain, unveiling an array of pocket-adorned jackets and his own interpretation of cargo pants. He further explored the concept of eveningwear, offering satin long dresses and short frocks, each meticulously adorned with leather belt detailing, thoughtfully wrapped around the waist or cascading down the back, respectively.
Despite the undeniable craftsmanship and artistry displayed throughout the collection, there was a lingering sense that a touch of poeticism could have elevated these garments to even greater heights. The enigmatic Stefano Gallici, who joined the brand in 2020 and previously held the position of menswear designer, remained shrouded in mystery, offering little insight into both the collection and his vision for the brand’s future.
For his debut, Gallici chose to maintain an enigmatic silence, withholding details about the collection and the direction he envisions for the brand. Instead, he communicated through a cryptic note on Instagram, effectively crafting a manifesto for his tenure at the helm. This air of mystique only served to deepen the intrigue surrounding the next chapter of Ann Demeulemeester under Stefano Gallici’s creative direction.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Ann Demeulemeester