Marcus von Ackermann — who acted as fashion director at a range of European magazines, from French Vogue to Wallpaper — died on May 28 in Surrey, England, after a short illness, according to his friend Kim Stringer. He was 52.
A popular figure in the fashion industry, von Ackermann was known for his elegant character and for working with top fashion photographers, including Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Peggy Sirota, Arthur Elgort and Karl Lagerfeld.
“He was an exceptional person, very funny, very dynamic,” said Yasmin Kayser, fashion director at Le Nouvel Observateur in Paris, who assisted von Ackermann when he was at French Vogue in the late Nineties. “He thought big.”
“He was extremely generous and also willing to take risks to promote young designers,” recalled Paris-based designer Andrew Gn, also lauding von Ackermann’s penchant for luxury, recalling him dressed in a cream cashmere turtleneck and matching coat, for example.
“His aesthetic was very un-English — very international, cosmopolitan and fun. He did shoots for us — on a train in Japan, a plane in America and a raft in the South Seas. And he brought the same incredible sense of glamour and over-the-top fun to them all,” said Richard Cook, editorial director of Wallpaper magazine.
“He’s had a huge influence on fashion, especially in the late Eighties and early Nineties when he was at Arena Homme Plus in its heyday, at a time when there weren’t that many men’s magazines,” said Jeremy Langmead, editor in chief of Mr Porter. “His look was like a precursor to Thom Browne, very narrow. I think if you were to roll out any of those shoots now, it would still look fresh.”
Milliner Stephen Jones recalled, “He was always incredibly chic and glamorous, and although people remember him as a men’s wear editor, the apex of his career was when he was fashion director of French Vogue. There was a fantasy to every picture, no matter how practical the clothes were. [His lasting effect] really was in men’s wear — he created the peacock male.”
He is survived by his cousin, Claire; his niece, Lauren, and an aunt and uncle, according to Stringer.