Ludovic de Saint Sernin steps down from Ann Demeulemeester
©Photo: Ann Demeulemeester / Willy Vanderperre

Ludovic de Saint Sernin steps down from Ann Demeulemeester

May 20, 2023

Ludovic de Saint Sernin, the dynamic, Paris-bred designer, has abdicated his post as the creative director of Ann Demeulemeester, just after one season at the helm.

In 2022, de Saint Sernin, a wizard of gender-fluid designs, was crowned as the creative director of the Ann Demeulemeester brand. His appointment was followed by an electrifying debut at the Paris Fashion Week, showcasing the Fall/Winter 2023 collection. The collection, a stunning 36-look homage to Ann Demeulemeester’s archival aesthetics, was skilfully seasoned with de Saint Sernin’s own sensual stylistic flourishes.

However, industry insiders privy to the situation allege a growing discord between de Saint Sernin and the brand’s management, instigating the designer’s surprising departure. de Saint Sernin, a mere 32 years old, has deftly wielded his unique blend of sensual, boundary-pushing designs and compelling social-media narratives to cultivate a robust and youthful following since the launch of his namesake brand in 2017.

Ludovic de Saint Sernin steps down from Ann Demeulemeester
Ann Demeulemeester Fall/Winter 2023

Ann Demeulemeester, distinguished for its romantic, bohemian-goth aesthetic, navigated significant changes, including relocation from Belgium to Italy following its acquisition by New Guards Group co-founder Claudio Antonioli in 2020. As the leadership grapples with the task of rekindling the brand’s appeal among a young demographic, the designer’s departure raises further questions about the brand’s future direction.

Historically, the brand’s clientele has shown staunch loyalty towards Ann Demeulemeester, the original founder. The challenge now lies in maintaining the loyalty of this aging demographic while capturing the attention of younger, trend-savvy consumers.

The road ahead for Ann Demeulemeester is shrouded in uncertainty. The high costs associated with the brand’s exclusive ready-to-wear range and its smaller scale presents another hurdle to overcome. Any attempt to reboot the brand demands a significant financial investment. However, the returns from investing in high-profile creative talent, especially amidst the present turmoil, remain uncertain.

Both parties involved in this unfolding narrative, de Saint Sernin and Antonioli, have chosen to maintain silence over the matter.

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