Attending Haider Ackermann’s packed show was one of the more captivating moments of this landmark week. In case you didn’t know, he’s considered a frontrunner for the vacant throne at Dior. This collection was clearly a litmus test, and judging from the standing ovation it received, many editors have already cast their votes.
With their domed hairdos, Ackermann’s models ambled decorously down the curved runway, trailing liquid-like skirts or dresses, sporting taut or kimono-style jackets, or wearing belted coats that were loose at the back. There was a lot of bunching, draping, and cinching (with thick leather belts), but everything looked as harmonious as the palette of plum, midnight blue and gray. And the occasional holey and sequined skirt added the right frisson. By the time the last model retreated backstage with Leonard Cohen’s romantic ditty A Thousand Kisses Deep on the soundtrack, the audience went wild.
Ackermann has never been a mainstream designer, but his work exudes the kind of dignified elegance that is the essence of haute couture. Few of his counterparts can boast that quality (he actually reminds me of Elbaz), and this makes him a credible candidate for a major couture house.
But then, fashion marriages have proved to be particularly dicey these days. As Ackermann himself stated after the show, “It’s like in love. You just have to find the right person and look in the same direction.”