Next Thursday, 2 September, the Antwerp flagship store of the iconic fashion brand Ann Demeulemeester will reopen its doors: the kick-off for a major relaunch of the label, which from now on plans to become a lifestyle brand. Remarkably, Demeulemeester herself is also involved in the project.
The store opening in Antwerp next Thursday is the kick-off for the brand's relaunch. The premises, a former naval school dating from the 19th century, were completely renovated and redecorated under the direction of Patrick Robyn, the husband and creative partner of Ann Demeulemeester.
The interior radiates an intimate atmosphere with white canvas walls, black curtains, a beautifully restored wooden floor, and ambient LED lighting. The concept will serve as a model for new stores that will open in two to three years in cities such as Paris and Milan. There will be shop-in-shops in London (Dover Street Market), New York, Tokyo, Beijing and Singapore. The showroom in Paris will also be refurbished.
About a year ago, the Belgian fashion label gained a new owner. Italian retail entrepreneur Claudio Antonioli took over the trademark rights, the archive, the head office and the flagship stores in Antwerp and Paris.
"Nowadays, Ann Demeulemeester is a lifestyle brand, and we want to visualise that", Antonioli told Sabato. Besides clothing, the boutique will also sell tableware, lamps, furniture and, in a later stage, perfume from the fashion house. After leaving the label, Ann Demeulemeester already brought ceramics on the market in cooperation with the Belgian Serax. In the meantime, the first collection of furniture, which she designed alongside her husband, has also become a reality.
The fashion collection itself, however, is not by Demeulemeester. She will remain involved with the label as an advisor for the next ten years. "It is not the intention that Ann will start designing clothing again", says Patrick Robyn. "However, I don't have a crystal ball. The future sometimes takes funny turns, so who knows. But right now, there is nothing to indicate that Ann will return as a fashion designer."