Ann Demeulemeester was born in 1959 in Kortrijk, Belgium. After graduating from the art school in Brugge, she studied fashion design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp from 1978 to 1981. in 1981 she graduating as part of the class that went on to become known as the "Antwerp Six". From 1981 she did freelance designing for international ready-to-wear collections.
She launched her own label in 1985 with husband Patrick Robyn, showing women’s wear in Paris for the first time in 1992 and combining it with menswear in 1996. She is one of the group of experimentally minded designers which emerged from Belgium in the mid-80's. Ann lives with her husband photographer Patrick Robyn and son Victor in a house designed by architect Corbusier, in Antwerp.
Anne Demeulemeester opened her own shop in Antwerp in 1999. The collection, which includes a successful range of shoes and accessories, is now sold in 30 countries worldwide.
Demeulemeester is a deconstructionist, who avoids ornament and colour in favour of close attention to detail and unusual mixing of fabrics. Her styles often incorporate contradictions: an usterity of outline might be marked with gently draped fabrics or antique-like fabrics. Nostalgic hippie style materials with frayed edges are often mixed with stark coats. Her long coats and dresses have become her signature classic style, along with halter waistcoats, blouses disguised as neckties and trousers and skirts which expose the hip bone. Her 70's rock style tailoring and leather wear draw inspiration from strong female icons of music such as Patti Smith or Janis Joplin. She is a master of cobweb knitwear or oversize masculine slouch suits. Demeulemeester designs clothes "with attitude".