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Ann Demeulemeester Womenswear SS13

The anatomy of a butterfly informed this flighty collection

PhotographyLea ColomboTextSusie Lau

From the tough exteriors and hardened shells of last season, it made sense that Ann Demeulemeester should wander into new territory. That said, for a designer like Demeulemeester, who has such a steady and consistent design DNA, a small tweak such as elongating sleeves so that they almost graze the floor making models appear ghostly and ethereal, seemed comparatively big. Demeulemeester was in fact recreating the fluttering movement of the butterfly, which she became obsessed with on all levels.  "It was a process of being really clear, really focused, really sharp and really simple but still beautiful," said Demeulemeester after the show, content with the cleansing process that her collection had undergone. What was it about this fluttering insect that inspired her? "Everything – the mystery, the fact that there is such a duality in a butterfly. The hard spine and the delicate wings, the structure and the movement. It all comes from the butterfly." The spines of Demeulemeester's butterflies were constructed with multi-stranded leather belts, that cinched the waist creating a rib-cage effect on the body. All the better for holding down those flighty dresses in the lightest of silks, giving the models wings without ever referring to the literal shape of any winged-creature. Whilst Demeulemeester expresses herself eloquently in black, she was able to apply a light touch and use shades of washed out mauve, cream and mint in aerated billowing gowns, perhaps nodding to the translucent colours of a butterfly gestating from larvae. More than any physical attribute of the butterfly though, it was their mysterious movement, the silent fluttering and their changeable state of being that was expressed in this collection, felt in every waft of silk in the trailing capes and sleeves and in the palpable atmosphere of serenity that a Demeulemeester show so often elicits.