A LOVE LETTER: Ludovic de Saint Sernin
Text by Sarah Lam | Photos courtesy of Ann Demeulemeester
Ludovic de Saint Sernin

As one of the most important voices of this generation, Ludovic de Saint Sernin surprised many when he embarked on a new career path, taking the hot seat of Ann Demeulemeester since last December. This inaugural collection was his love letter to the designer whose house he now designs for. The feather motif that adorned the runway was his tribute. He shared with us the process of integrating his codes into the maison. 

MANIFESTO: What's the silhouette you'd like to project in this collection? 

LUDOVIC DE SAINT SERNIN: I think it’s very beautiful – it embodies femininity and the essence of beauty. It’s something that is unique and personal, and one can read into it to evoke a feeling. I want to create an emotional response with my designs. I want people to understand that fashion has the power to make people dream. It’s important to me that my designs reflect a chapter of my life, and I hope that it comes across.

M: Share with us your approach working with the house's archive. 

LDSS: The way I worked with the archive was quite unique. They kept the entire archive in incredible condition. To understand the feeling of wearing the clothes, I selected 89 looks and personally tried on each piece. This helped me understand what it felt like to be an Ann woman or man. It was important for me to have this personal connection and feel that on my body, so that I could deliver the same personal touch in my work. To achieve this, I went through her autobiography and tried to find myself in the same way one reads a book. I feel that I was able to connect with her on many levels, and now we are able to shine a new light on her work. This was like a love letter because I realised how much her work has inspired the entire fashion community. I hope that I can inspire people today with my work.

M: How do you see the connection between your aesthetics and those of Demeulemeester? 

LDSS: I believe that fashion is all about telling your story and putting your heart into it. It’s about evoking emotions and making people feel something strong and unique, almost like magic. It’s important to me that this feeling comes across in my work. I want the show to be super sharp and beautiful, with just enough looks to leave the audience wanting more. Ultimately, my goal is to create a show that is memorable and impactful.

M: How do you perceive the things that you inherited now that you're in this position? 

LDSS: I think it’s about writing a new chapter. The first look was like me writing this new chapter. We created this beautiful leather piece to recreate the feather motif, and for me, it was a love letter to Ann. I wanted to literally write that new chapter. And with everything that she’s done, putting it into this context and shining a new light on it, that’s what matters. Carrying on that legacy but also adding my own touch. I’m the new author of this amazing journey, and it’s just a special feeling.

M: Which aspects of Demeulemeester's brand and creations do you think remain the most relevant today? 

LDSS: I think what I see in it is really something that’s from the heart, something that’s intimate, something that’s fluid, something that’s strong. The message that she had at the very beginning is still so relevant today, and as a designer, it was an uneasy thing for me because I just had to take that on and immerse myself in it. It’s also interesting for me to look into what feminine parts I have because I’m taking on a brand that a woman created. I really wanted to feel that femininity again in the brand.


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