Ann Demeulemeester store in Antwerp
Ann Demeulemeester’s store looks like an artist’s workshop: a raw open space with an unfinished feel. The result is unique and extremely personal. Ann wanted her first shop to look like her and to be an incursion in the own world. She designed the store with her husband and partner Patrick Robyn and asked the architect Paul Robbrecht to help with the realisation. The building is opposite the Museum of Fine Art and is located on the museum square, recently redesigned by Paul Robbrecht.
The building accommodating the store was build at the end of the 19th century and is situated in an historical and now bohemian area called “Het Zuid”. The typical Antwerp architecture of the building and it’s opulent facade is in stark contrast with the poetic bareness created by Ann inside. Here, one can find the intimate atmosphere of her atelier. The furniture, the light, the music, as well as symbolic elements of her work such as a white feather and white canvas wrapping up the space like a second skin.
600 Square meters are spread on two levels and linked by an impressive staircase. The floor is made of unpolished wood, high ceiling are painted black and the walls are covered with huge frames of canvas. the lighting is very simple and combines industrial neons, bare light-bulbs and hanging lamps wrapped in cotton gauze. All furnishings are Ann’s creation.
5 oversized changing rooms are surrounding a small wild garden. In each room, a jug of water and a glass placed on a white table invite the customer to take time and enjoy this intimate moment. Elsewhere, white pigeons in a glass cage add to the poetry of the space. Higher up perched on the roof, a light watches night and day over Ann’s universe. All of Ann Demeulemeester’s collection will be available in the store: women- and menswear, shoes and accessories as well as furniture.
"Escale A L.A." Lara Stone photographed by Inez & Vinoodh for Vogue Paris 2011
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— Alistair O’Neill, “Imagining Fashion: Helmut Lang & Maison Martin Margiela” (via organization)
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by Marie Bariller, photography by Guillaume de Laubier
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Patti Smith and Ann Demeulemeester
"Ann Demeulemeester was sixteen years old when she first encountered Smith. On a whim, she bought a copy of Smith’s record Horses. There was something about the cover sleeve a woman staring unflinchingly into the camera, her pale face framed with jet-black hair, her aquiline nose punctuated by the stern horizontal of her mouth that made the young Demeulemeester stop and stare. With a jacket slung over her shoulder, a tie around her neck and the slightest trace of facial fair above her upper lip, Patti Smith whoever she was had a compelling ambiguity about her. Upon listening to the androgynous American’s defiant three-chord songs Demeulemeester was even more inspired. So when it came to selecting a soundtrack for her Paris runway debut in 1991 more than a decade later, Smith’s ragged poetry was an obvious choice. Demeulemeester played the album Wave and as a gesture of thanks, sent Smith a package containing a note and a white shirt from the collection. The shirt struck a chord with Smith she felt it had been made for her and she wrote back straight away. The correspondence would last five years before the pair finally met backstage at a gig of Smith’s in Ostend."
Patti Smith holding a gun
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Magazine: Dazed and Confused October 1998
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