Haider Ackermann’s first effort for Berluti was a sensual feast, a canvas covered in bright strokes of color, tactile fabrics and clothing that’s meant to be swapped between men and women. “Nowadays, we all borrow each other’s clothes,” said Ackermann as he was mobbed by well-wishers backstage after the show at the Grand Palais. “Using women brings some sensuality to the show.”
Ackermann said in an interview last week that Berluti’s raison d’être was to make “nice garments, a wardrobe, the essentials, what’s relevant,” leaving the customer to mix it all up. He certainly delivered — but put his personal bohemian stamp on the collection, which was a departure from the toned-down and buttoned-up Berluti of his predecessor Alessandro Sartori.
“The nomad is always there, he’s inside of me,” Ackermann has said. There’s no holding back the nomad even at Berluti, where Ackermann showed formal looks with a feminine edge — as in a pink liquid silk dinner jacket — alongside the casual, in the form of a black shearling that a young Bruce Springsteen would have worn on a cold night in Asbury Park (although it’s doubtful a young Springsteen could have afforded it).
Reinforcing the rock ‘n’ roll — or artiste — temperament, Models carried guitars and backpacks just as easily as they did exotic leather overnight bags in pastel colors or buttery black briefcases, sending a clear message that this collection is as much for free spirits as it is for the corporate suits.
Outerwear was a highlight and had a languid, feminine edge what with the camel coats done with collars lined in baby blue or lemon yellow astrakhan; short quilted jackets in rich jewel tones — ruby, amethyst and emerald, or topcoats slicked in shades of acid yellow or cobalt. There were more masculine pieces, too, like a short suede jacket, a plaid lumberjack style or a languid tone-on-tone olive ensemble. That, as did many of the outfits, came with narrow, cropped and cuffed trousers, all the better to show off the lean, lace-up Berluti boots.
Ackermann said he wanted fabrics and surfaces to be “sweet” to touch. “I’d wear everything and anything,” said Marisa Berenson, who was part of a front-row lineup that included Bernard Arnault and his family, LVMH group managing director Antonio Belloni, and the chief executive officers of Dior, Fendi and Le Bon Marché. Bryan Ferry, Tilda Swinton and Wes Anderson made up part of the celebrity contingent. Swinton led the standing ovation.
But while it was an assured, definitive start for Ackermann, the question is how will Berluti’s more classic customer react to the designer’s boy-meets-girl, boho look? Will they follow Ackermann’s nomad to the cash register?