Ann Demeulemeester returns to namesake label ahead of Antwerp flagship reopening

Iconic Belgian fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester has returned to her eponymous label after an eight-year hiatus.

Demeulemeester is back at the brand she founded in 1985 with her husband and partner Patrick Robyn, but not as a designer this time, according to Belgian newspaper De Tijd.

Instead, she has agreed with the brand’s new owner, Italian fashion entrepreneur Claudio Antonioli, to return to the label as an adviser for the next ten years.

“I personally see it as my role to enrich the DNA in new domains and other forms,” Demeulemeester said.

The news comes as the label gears up to reopen its iconic flagship store in Antwerp on September 2. The store, which first opened its doors in the historical 1880s Beaux Arts building in 1999, has been completely redesigned by Robyn.

The 420-meter space features canvases covering the store’s first-floor windows, creating a chiaroscuro effect in the daytime, while the shop’s lighting has been switched out for an all-new digitally controlled LED system that places the clothing in a “soft yet crisp” light.

The original wooden floor has also been restored and stained black, while floor-to-ceiling black curtains now line the windows on the ground floor.

Other features include French doors opening onto a Victorian fern courtyard; a custom-made wunderkammer-inspired six-meter-long glass display case housing the label’s accessories; a brand new cash wrap; and a large circular footwear display with built-in seating on the first floor.

“I am honoured to be able to reopen this iconic flagship,” said Antonioli, who took over the brand last year. “Since the beginning of this project, my mission has been to preserve the brand’s ethos, of which the store is a big part.

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“Antwerp is a city that has always fascinated me, and I’m happy to bring back a place that is the epicentre of the Ann Demeulemeester universe.”


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