16.67% of the antwerp six

Many years ago in NY, my sweet and talented graphic designer friend Robin (blackbird design), who now resides in Chicago, introduced me to the '24 hour theory': if you hear of something new, out of the blue, chances are you'll hear it again from an unrelated source within 24 hours.

When I first met Charlie May (Girl a la Mode), at the Next event, and discovered she'd graduated from Central Saint Martins and is a fashion designer, I asked what her work is like. It's like the game I play with my NY friend Lisa, before I'd meet her boyfriend, for example, it's 'who would play him in a film?' (it's a great game: everyone can either resemble someone, or in a pinch, a cross between two). Charlie said her influences are Celine and 'Ann Smushmushsmush'. 'Ann who?' 'Ann Smushmushsmush'. After a few rounds, I finally asked her to spell it: Ann Demeulemeester. And I realised I'd never actually heard the name spoken aloud. But of course, I knew OF her. And less than 24 hours later, I forget why now, Mr. Dot brought up her name.

Ann Demeulemeester sounds fascinating. She's married to a photographer and lives in Belgium with their son in the only Le Corbusier house in Belgium. And she emerged as a designer in Antwerp in the 80s along with a kind of 'school' of Belgium designers, including Dries Van Noten, who became known as the Antwerp Six. Charlie's friend Amy worked for her and she'd visit Antwerp and that's how she started collecting her clothes. I mean, check out her website, isn't it amazing? I love how in her 2011 collection some of the details on the white jacket are echoed in the boots Charlie's wearing here (also by Ann D). And she was saying that, for example, with the white top, her friend wears it back to front, with the ties in the back.

I love wearing things backwards. V neck jumpers especially. I just like having more detail in the back and a plain front. I can see this top worn that way. Sorry it's so blurry: I really want to shoot Charlie in this in brighter light, but there's something about these blurs that I think are just so beautiful.

So when I met her for late lunch @ Vapiano the other day, and she was wearing almost head to toe Ann Demeulemeester, I had to snap her. But while I'd brought my camera I'd forgotten my battery, so we used her camera - and it was dark - and it all came out these lovely blurs. (Charlie's done a post already but I'm purposely not reading hers before posting mine).

At a time when it seems to much of fashion is looking backwards, to the Seventies, mostly but still referencing the Fifties, Sixties, bit of the Eighties, this is the direction that, to me, feels most like the future. It's not 2001 Space Odyssey astronaut futuristic, but something more organic, layered, fresh, comfortable, clean yet still feminine, asymmetric, geometric yet soft, and above all, beautiful.


Style Odyssey said...

"...something more organic, layered, fresh, comfortable, clean yet still feminine, asymmetric, geometric yet soft, and above all, beautiful."

I love your description, and am excited for this type of clothing, always! Your blurry photos create an air of mystery and lightness which is fitting.

And I love Ann Demeulemeester's aesthetic, which speaks to me on a personal level. She's pretty much my favorite designer.

Kazuko said...

she looks lovely in all her ann d layers!

i'm a huge fan of ann demeulemeester. her clothes are perfectly deconstructed, and even though they always look weird and shapeless on the hanger - they are so beautiful on the body. plus: ann d makes the most comfortable and sexy shoes!

so, i'm with style odyssey here: think ann d is my favourite designer.

jill said...

stephanie (style odyssey): i was thinking of you actually re: annD! ; )

and kazuko: just went to your blog - left a long message - love your taste and can see why you'd love ann demeulemeester's work. that beautiful shawl has a similar feel. check out kazuko's blog everyone, it's brilliant!


the style crusader said...

there is such a magical blurry glow about these photos. really beautiful and quite mystical.

charlie is so gorgeous. she has such a cool style. like really cool. absolutely adore her after only meeting her once.

p.s. i once came across a site that wrote out how to pronounce each designers name. it was so brilliant and kept me entertained for aaages. xx

Anonymous said...

I liked this post so much that I had to comment. First of all, I love Ann D. a lot.
Second of all, "24hours theory" is true!! Just a day ago it was a first time I heard of Le Corbusier (sorry, yes), and here it comes again. And the game with movies and actors I play a bit differently - "I didn't know that my friend (or cousin, or my husband’s friend, or cousin, etc) plays in this movie". It is usually funny.

And photos are beautiful.


Michele said...

Sorry, this is more to do with something you said the other day, when you talked about the "famous" blogs and how you had grown tired with some of them (totally paraphrasing there, of course, but I'm sure it's enough to jog the memory). Something about what you said got me thinking......I think that's what I like about the pics you choose - they are 'real' people. By that I mean that they are just people you know, not well known fashion personalities. In many ways it feels like there are some people who blog that found the more they posted pics of the fashion crowd, the more they got to know them, the more they got invited to shows, the more they took photos of the people around them, (most of whom are captured wearing clothing that your average gal about town could never dream of either A) hoping to afford! or B) managing to pull off* on the tube!)......you see the vicious circle that becomes! So thank you for just posting the pics you do, of the 'normal' and everyday things around that inspire you! They are a breath of fresh air!!!

Phew - little rant over!

* obviously I mean "pull off" as in "get away with wearing", NOT literally that one would wish to pull ones clothes off on the train!

A La Mode said...

Ahhh this post is beautiful and beats the crap out of mine, haha!
I didn't go to CSM, that was Thomas Tait. I studied in Bristol at UWE.
I'm so glad you looked into Ann D and loved what you saw. She is such an incredible woman and easy to be inspired by xx

jill said...

Oops sorry about that Charlie! Well that's how myths are started. In a few years we'll call you and Thomas Tait the CSM Two.

Ann D sounds amazing, not just as a designer but her life. Life style. Yes, inspiring!

And Michele, yes I do know what you mean, and I really appreciate hearing this, especially now, when I'm going thru a stage when I'm kind of at a crossroads - got some real disappointments recently and am finding it's true what they say that this is a tough industry. My honeymoon phase with this new world for me might be drawing to a close and I'm becoming jaded and bitter, haha! I hope not. But yes, I know what you mean.

Altho.. who hasn't had one of those moments on the Tube when you want to pull off all your clothes and start screaming.

Volga: I love when that happens! I wonder if you heard his name just as I was looking up AnnD on wikipedia.

Crusader: where is that site!? I'd love to see it.