No one conjures a mood of heady anticipation quite like Haider Ackermann, with his bass throb as penetrating as a heartbeat, his wind machines and his glacial show pacing.
Heady anticipation, and then dramatic reward: Here was one of the designer’s most ravishing collections in years, captivating with its drifting silk, trailing ribbons and tropical colors.
“Paradise birds on acid,” Ackermann declared backstage, where he was mobbed by models that resembled such creatures with their spiky hair and exotic finery, licked here and there with a metallic gleam.
The designer opened this exceptional show with one of his tiny leather bomber jackets and a long and fluted yellow skirt, establishing a long and sinuous line, and an allure that’s always in the twilight zone.
Tight pleats, like the ones Issey Miyake pioneered in the Eighties, are the surprising trend of this European fashion season, and Ackermann’s were superb: Languid and a touch rakish for side-striped track pants; gorgeous in X-back gowns with plunging décolleté and a fishtail of fluttering silk.
You’d be hard-pressed to find more beautiful dégradés, gentle pinks, yellows and blues dusted on silky, white pantsuits and loose kimonos.
And Ackermann didn’t skimp on lean pants: tough and sexy in tight leather, or uber chic in tuxedo wools and teamed with brocade bustiers or lamé blouses.
In a wink to his streetwise side, which helped earn him a new gig as artistic director of Berluti, Ackermann included sweatshirts and T-shirts bearing such logos as “Be Your Own Hero.”
Tilda Swinton was in thrall of the “incredible lightness” of the display. “It’s like levitating, basically. He’s taken it all to that level. And the palette is supersonic,” she said, pausing before concluding. “That’s what we call élan.”