"In the backyard of the [Royal Academy of Fine Arts] school was this little building, on the verge of collapsing. You would have to very carefully go over the stairs, because if you took one mis-step, you could literally push your feet through them. It was almost dangerous. So I think that the whole thing melted well together. It was the switch from the 80s to 90s, the reaction on excess with minimalism and deconstruction, the first appearance of grunge. So that feeling of romanticism, together with the history, the building and the run down corridors with the statues, it really did make a big impact on how you formed your visual language. I really think there was something quite dark and magical about it, matching perfectly the zeitgeist of the period."

— Willy Vanderperre
Ann Demeulemeester spring / summer 2000
Demeulemeester was sixteen years old when she first encountered Smith. On a whim, she bought a copy of Smith’s record Horses. There was something about the cover sleeve a woman staring unflinchingly into the camera, her pale face framed with jet-black hair, her aquiline nose punctuated by the stern horizontal of her mouth that made the young Demeulemeester stop and stare. So when it came to selecting a soundtrack for her Paris runway debut in 1991 more than a decade later, Smith’s ragged poetry was an obvious choice. Demeulemeester played the album Wave and as a gesture of thanks, sent Smith a package containing a note and a white shirt from the collection. The shirt struck a chord with Smith she felt it had been made for her and she wrote back straight away. The correspondence would last five years before the pair finally met backstage at a gig of Smith’s in Ostend. Since then Demeulemeester and Smith have collaborated on two collections. Demeulemeester’s Spring Summer 2000 collection ‘Woolgathering’ takes its name from a short autobiographical novel published by Smith in 1992. Demeulemeester took excerpts from Smith’s writing and embroidered them onto silk tulle dresses and cotton tops. Smith returned the compliment by reading extracts during the runway presentation.

Ann Demeulemeester spring / summer 2000

Demeulemeester was sixteen years old when she first encountered Smith. On a whim, she bought a copy of Smith’s record Horses. There was something about the cover sleeve a woman staring unflinchingly into the camera, her pale face framed with jet-black hair, her aquiline nose punctuated by the stern horizontal of her mouth that made the young Demeulemeester stop and stare. So when it came to selecting a soundtrack for her Paris runway debut in 1991 more than a decade later, Smith’s ragged poetry was an obvious choice. Demeulemeester played the album Wave and as a gesture of thanks, sent Smith a package containing a note and a white shirt from the collection. The shirt struck a chord with Smith she felt it had been made for her and she wrote back straight away. The correspondence would last five years before the pair finally met backstage at a gig of Smith’s in Ostend. Since then Demeulemeester and Smith have collaborated on two collections. Demeulemeester’s Spring Summer 2000 collection ‘Woolgathering’ takes its name from a short autobiographical novel published by Smith in 1992. Demeulemeester took excerpts from Smith’s writing and embroidered them onto silk tulle dresses and cotton tops. Smith returned the compliment by reading extracts during the runway presentation.


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