It's always interesting to examine how Ann Demeulemeester adapts her aesthetic for spring. Brooding, moody, even foreboding - you always imagine Demeulemeester under stormy skies, not sunny ones. And when the first model emerged at her spring 2012 show, clad head-to-toe in inky black and topped with a Pilgrim hat straight out of Children of the Corn, it looked like Demeulemeester may be wishing for a British summer, rather than the Indian summer pushing Parisian temperatures into the late twenties right now.
But Demeulemeester decided to channel the lightness in her aesthetic, deconstructing her own deconstruction and reinterpreting her trademark tailoring in filmy chiffon. The opening looks were solid - boiling wool rather than boiled wool on her desert-sand catwalk, with atmosphere to match. The filmy chiffon trousers however hinted at something lighter to take flight, that chiffon later veiling the body in layers of transparency, first as reinterpretations of the narrow tailoring, and then as gauzy, billowing capes and kaftans in black, white, and, well, black and white, fading in ombre patterns and floating ethereally around the body.
Demeuleemeester does ethereal pretty well - it's that 'poetic' side to her 'dark and poetic' tag. But there was much here that any woman would love to wear. The other idea for lightening up was fringing and tassels, almost as if Demeulemeester shredded her suiting. A couple were fettered to within an inch of their lives, reminiscent of her stand-out goat-fur outerwear from last winter. Ultimately, it was the simplest pieces - the delicacy of silk chiffon capes, seemingly seamless, fluttering around the body over those fantastic and eminently wearable wide-legged tulle trousers - that made the greatest impact. The unbearable lightness of being at Ann Demeulemeester? That was something unexpected.