Ann Demeulemeester launches a darkly romantic first-ever fragrance

Ann Demeulemeester reveals ‘A’, her debut fragrance, a scent that conjures the ‘romanticism and modernism’ that defined her collections

Ann Demeulemeester fragrance bottle
Ann Demeulemeester ‘A’ fragrance, the designer’s first
(Image credit: Courtesy of Ann Demeulemeester)

Romance and modernism, strength and fragility – such are the juxtapositions that defined Ann Demeulemeester’s work at her eponymous label, which launched in 1985 in Antwerp and quickly gained a devoted cult following for the languid, poetic designs rendered largely in black and white. In 2014, she would exit the label. 

Now, after successful furniture and homeware lines – both created alongside Belgian design brand Serax – and the label’s purchase by Claude Antonioli in 2020 (who promised greater involvement from Demeulemeester and her original collaborators going forward), the designer this week released her first eponymous fragrance. 

Dark romance: Ann Demeulemeester’s fragrance, ‘A’

Ann Demeulemeester portrait

 Ann Demeulemeester, photographed in 1992

(Image credit: Photography by Patrick Robyn, courtesy of Ann Demeulemeester)

Titled ‘A’ – chosen for being both the designer’s initial and also as the foundational first letter of the alphabet – the evocative fragrance promises to capture the darkly romantic spirit that is synonymous with Demeulemeester’s collections. Genderless and crafted from what the label describes as a lifelong fascination with scent, it centres on ingredients refined in their ‘rarest, purest’ form.

These include light, hazy top notes of clove, cumin, Ceylon cinnamon, Sicilian lemon and Calabrian bergamot, before getting to the heady heart of the fragrance: ‘narcotic’ jasmine, May rose and rich tones of birch-oiled leather, a fitting nod to her punk-infused collections. The scent is completed with earthy base notes of patchouli, vetiver, rose and sandalwood, each derived from cold-pressed essential oils.

Ann Demeulemeester fragrance

(Image credit: Courtesy of Ann Demeulemeester)

The sleek, columnar glass flacon that encases the fragrance is modernist in design, adorned with a letter ‘A’ that is visible through the ‘citrine-coloured’ perfume. The box itself – evocative of a blank canvas – is designed to recall the designer’s Antwerp boutique, while a portrait of the designer by husband Patrick Robyn in 1992 is fixed to the interior. Demeulemeester calls Robyn her ’partner in life and creativity’ and the pair’s son – Victor Robyn – created the perfume’s visuals.

The result, says the brand, is an evocative, instinctive fragrance that reflects the emotional language which has run throughout the designer’s work – ’the essence of Ann Demeulemeester’.

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.