After less than six months at its helm, Ludovic de Saint Sernin is stepping down from his role at Ann Demeulemeester. The designer joined the label as creative director in December and was tasked with boosting its name within the fashion conversation. “Sensuality, tension, silhouette, fluidity, wildness and a graphic feel are defining pillars of the language Ludovic de Saint Sernin is about to build as he traces the new course of Ann Demeulemeester,” the brand said. But having shown just one collection since then, de Saint Sernin’s tenure was as scant as the feather bralettes he sent down the Paris Fashion Week runway.
Though details on the exit remain vague – something the Business of Fashion describes as managerial differences – de Saint Sernin is the latest domino to fall in a slew of short-lived designer stints. In April alone, Rhuigi Villasenor left Bally and Charles de Vilmorin quit Rochas while Benjamin Alexander-Huseby and Serhat Işık parted ways with Trussardi. All of those designers had been charged with modernising a storied label and broadening its appeal among young people, but each one lasted less than two years on the job. Perhaps the hyped-to-heritage formula is more of a cautionary tale than it is a silver bullet.
Regardless of whether de Saint Sernin’s debut was a successful reimagining of the Ann Demeulemeester brand, one collection feels particularly incomplete. Tensions likely arose as a result of splitting his time between his namesake label and the Belgian house. “I was in a rush,” the designer told Sarah Mower of the preparation that went into his AW23 show. “It was like ‘Oh my god, it’s like a fashion competition! OK, I need a system that’s very clear’. So I chose ten fabrics. And I decided ‘OK, I’m gonna go like almost when you’re a student, when it’s just one fabric you need to make three looks with it’.” While de Saint Sernin will return to his eponymous brand, it is unclear whether Ann Demeulemeester will be filling his position any time soon.
Click through the gallery above to see Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s first (and last) collection at Ann Demeulemeester.