When people are asked to describe Haider Ackermann´s style, they always include a reference to a ´darkness´. In his most recent collection, a sumptuous Paris townhouse set the scene for a show where he wanted his guests to be able to ¨smell the essence of the clothes.¨ The Columbian wunderkind left behind his typical aesthetic of voluminous coats, dropped pants and enveloping scarfs and made everything much tighter. The thigh strangling drainpipe trousers left nothing to the imagination, neither did the bare chests and bone hugging blazers of his all male model army. An immediate key look of this liberal collection was the leather leggings (leggings in the fact that they were simply too tight to be trousers) which were delightfully offset against their softly cascading camiseta counterparts.
¨There’s always darkness to Ackermann’s work – one thinks of outsiders, bohemians and Avant Garde dreamers. That was accentuated this season – there was a deviant quality to the way those models sauntered in their opulent yet punkish attire.¨ – Show Studio
This time, the designer’s protagonists were swathed in tactile, extravagant fabrics in all the colours of a bohemian jewel box. Louch velvet sat on top of dazzling metallic jacquards and corseting details which overlapped onto a lot of leather. These items, teamed with silk scarves draped down to the hip provided the Ackermann man with the ultimate swaggering arsenal.
The grooming of the model army certainly matched the mood of the moment. Amplified Mohawks overhung the front of the models faces like a gothic interpretation of an 80´s seaside England. Essentially, this collection had Ackermann´s usual traits of darkness, which was not unexpected given his previous offerings and connections with the alternative Belgian fashion set. ¨Outsiders, bohemians, poets and day dreamers all sat under his Avant Garde umbrella in their punkish attire with highly opulent colour. Some bourgeoisie and others, rebel.¨
¨Ackermann’s adept provision for lavish ruche and a superfluous decorative twist provided a collection that was both virtuous and dandyish allowing men to look like they don´t-give-a-damn when they actually, most certainly do.¨ – Charles Daniel McDonald
Despite the acerbity of the collection, there was a soft side that shone through this almost obscured runway presentation. This took the form of gentle fabrics with their impeccable tailoring and fluidity. Sensual silks encased the models bodies which in turn juxtaposed against the commanding presence of their tougher leather counterparts.
With every season and progressive collection, Ackermann´s enduring DNA continues to outshine all the other runway offerings. Within his world, we can´t help but feel he couldn´t do anything else – and we wouldn´t want him to.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Haider Ackermann