“A handsome woman.” Not feeling the compliment, ladies? Allow Haider Ackermann to change your minds.
The designer’s riveting collection celebrated that genre of unfussy woman to exquisite effect. “I love to talk about handsome women,” Ackermann said after the show. “There is a duality. They were lost and they were on their way. It feels like they were walking forever on those highways. And the clothes are tripping and falling and fainting, and I think that’s a beautiful mood.”
Vague backstory aside, this was really about beautiful clothes delivered in Ackermann’s artful layerings, even as he continued the relative simplification he started for fall. It was anchored in tailoring, most looks featuring a lean jacket with narrow lapels that showed Ackermann to be a savvy student — but not mimic — of Saint Laurent.
One of the hallmarks of Ackermann’s work is that it looks genuinely new, inclusive of reference but free of retro. His perfectly cut jackets were worn over diaphanous skirts or pants, and sometimes both, the former worn over the latter. While some such long dresses were mere veils of chiffon, others had skirts finely pleated for linear volume and graceful movement.
Ackermann worked in black played against high-shine incarnations of rich, dark tones — bronze, sapphire, purple. Yet he mixed in shots of white, in both tailoring and a gem of a wide schmatta over pants.
And as if to answer past criticism that his pilings can turn too complicated, he interjected two moments of pure minimalism: a long-sleeve off-the-shoulder gown and a strapless jumpsuit, both in black. These didn’t seem out of place, but played beautifully into the mesmerizing whole.