Now for some drama with Haider Ackermann
Once Tilda Swinton had taken her place – the best advert a designer like Haider Ackermann could have for his beloved elongated silhouette, multiple layers and complex drapings – the show began.
Ackermann likes to build the drama, not just through the clothes, but through the wide open warehouse of a catwalk, the slow funereal procession of the models, the pulsating music and blinking neon-white light.
His cutting prowess was shown off to the fullest on his three key looks. First, the streamlined suit with strong shoulders and waist clasped by an obi-sized leather belt, worn with multi-laced spike-heeled boots, the better to attain the great height needed to carry it off. Second, the wide slouchy suit – here in white – with great flowing trousers that trailed on the floor, even when worn with said boots. And third, and most romantic, the crisp jacquard cuffed trouser worn with spaghetti strapped diaphanous dresses, scooped up at the front, trains stroking the floor behind them. One of the latter, combined floaty polka dots, with solid chevron striped shantung silk and graphically patterned glossy jacquard to stunning effect.
The problem with this beautiful collection – and it was truly beautiful – is that it looks all too familiar. Perhaps this is the nature of success, when a designer has become so renowned for a certain look, he becomes fearful of moving on? But it made you long to see these theatrical pieces all cut from humble denim, say, or as another journalist pointed out post-show, ‘How great would it have been if he’d done it all in black leather?’
Still, a designer has to sell his clothes – and that’s certainly what Ackermann achieved here, more saleable versions of his drop-dead dramatic look.