Nancy Sidewater
April 14, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Gaultier had Madonna, Versace has Courtney Love, and minimalist Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester now has punk poetess Patti Smith. Lines from Smith’s 1992 book, Woolgathering, are embroidered onto the designer’s spring collection of silk tulle dresses and cotton tops. How did this anti-style style maven become part of the fabric? ”I was 16 when I bought her first record. We have a long history,” says Demeulemeester, who’s also used Smith’s music and spoken words in her runway shows. ”Things that are important when you are young forever stay part of your background.” Smith, whose black Demeulemeester jacket is as much a wardrobe staple as her combat boots, says the pairing fits like a glove: ”I feel good in a lot of her clothes.” Fashion fans also applaud the duo. ”They’re perfect for each other. They have the same intensity,” says Barneys’ Julie Gilhart, VP of fashion merchandising. ”They’re both very forward, but not completely polished.”

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