Usually, Haider Ackermann tells a story so compelling you have to buy into it. Sometimes, you buy into the power of the beauty on view, its bizarre otherworldliness. Sometimes, you buy into the aura of angst or apprehension. At times, Ackermann presents an anarchical vision so strong it frightens. Whatever the message, its grip is tight, delivered with unwavering clarity.
Ackermann’s spring collection didn’t elicit such hyper-charged engagement. The whole thing kind of left you cold. He has left you cold before, but in those times, you felt the intent behind the chill. Here, the engagement centered wholly on one’s take on the clothes, which may have been the point. They were characteristically strong.
Backstage postshow, Ackermann noted a continuation from last year, by inference explaining his lack of attention to the mesmerizing flou, which he so often places in opposition to his tailoring. “I want it to be linear, I want it to be graphic…I just wanted to have some strictness, some straightforwardness that I might not have had before,” he said.
Perhaps his still-new relationship with Berluti affords less time for thinking about story line; it certainly hasn’t refocused his attention to the clothes; they’ve always been impeccably developed and executed. Here, from its base of sharp tailoring, his lineup featured a number of recurring motifs: shoulder emphasis, color-blocks, asymmetrical details, unusual skin revelations. One jacket bared a slice of skin at its side-closure and an open back; others were worn open sans underpinning. The shoulder emphasis came via structured jackets and draped, twisted off-the-shoulder knits, the latter in dresses as well as tops over high-rise pants with skinny belts looped in back. As part of the overall austerity, Ackermann kept his color play bold but classic, emphasizing combinations of red, black and white. For a (slightly) softer alternative, some of the more casual looks incorporated light blue and pale yellow with black and white. It was all high-chic, high-polish and very glamorous. As for that breathless fascination factor — maybe next season.