MILAN — Ann Demeulemeester is welcoming a new creative director, naming Stefano Gallici to the top post. His first collection is to be unveiled at a fashion show during Paris Fashion Week on Sept. 30.
Gallici succeeds Ludovic de Saint Sernin, who is exiting the brand after only six months.
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Born in 1996, Gallici is not new to the Ann Demeulemeester world, as he was previously menswear designer at the brand. He began his career in Antwerp, Belgium, working as an assistant designer to Haider Ackermann, and then moved on to the Antonioli Group in January 2019.
“Stefano immediately demonstrated a strong creativity and a clear vision for Ann Demeulemeester,” Antonioli said. “He represents the DNA of the brand with an eye to the future.”
The Ann Demeulemeester label had been designed by an in-house team since the departure of creative director Sébastien Meunier in July 2020. Shortly afterward, Antonioli revealed he had acquired the brand, including its complete archive, the headquarters, its historic flagship in Antwerp, and its showroom space in Paris.
In his debut fall 2023 show for the brand in Paris, de Saint Sernin, a former Balmain designer who launched his namesake collection in 2017 and is known for his sensual, gender-fluid creations, veered toward a more seductive silhouette, showing plenty of skin, compared with Demeulemeester’s soigné tailoring and dark glamour.
A pensive woman with gothic leanings, and one of the original Antwerp Six, Demeulemeester began showing in Paris in 1992 and quickly became a fashion star, with WWD anointing her “Queen Ann” in a headline following a blockbuster collection in 1995 that would influence runways in other fashion capitals. She added menswear a year later.
Demeulemeester bowed out of fashion in 2013 to embark on other ventures, namely pottery and ceramics. However, she remains close to the brand, while her homeware and lighting designs — among other projects — are on display in the Antwerp store.
In June last year, she staged an exhibition during the Pitti Uomo men’s trade show in Florence celebrating 40 years of the label.
Since taking full control of the company, Antonioli has shifted almost all manufacturing to Italy and has trimmed the number of wholesale doors by 60 percent, eyeing a retail expansion for the brand and restoring its high-end positioning.
Antonioli founded his first Milan retail outpost in 1987 and is a cofounder of streetwear conglomerate and Off-White licensee New Guards Group, which was acquired by Farfetch in 2019.
In addition to his Antonioli stores — with physical locations in Milan and Torino in Italy, Lugano in Switzerland and Ibiza in Spain, plus the website — the entrepreneur established a company called Dreamers Factory encompassing Ann Demeulemeester and future projects that relate to his personal passions.
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