By  on June 7, 2011

Just hours after landing in New York on Sunday, Haider Ackermann has something to get off his chest: He is not, contrary to popular reporting, Belgian. Born in Colombia, he was adopted by French parents who then traveled throughout Algeria, Ethiopia and Chad for his cartographer-father’s career. “I’m absolutely French, even though I don’t belong anywhere, because even in France I’m a stranger,” said Ackermann, on this day sitting in a corner chair inside the Mercer Hotel lobby. The mistake stems from his schooling; he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium, which counts Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester as alumni. (Demeulemeester and Ackermann share the same Belgian investor, Anne Chapelle.)

In town for tonight’s party in his honor at Saks Fifth Avenue, following a similar bash in Los Angeles, Ackermann has been on a major roll. His darkly romantic fall collection drew near-unanimous raves — both Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld sent him postshow flowers — and now he’s rumored to have a role in the potential Dior-Givenchy reshuffles. Here, the soft-spoken Ackermann — who’s prone to the occasional giggle and blushing — talks insecurities, celebrity culture, contracts and karaoking with Tilda Swinton.

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