Expectations were already high at Haider Ackermann’s show, heightened further by a delay that had the audience sitting in surprisingly patient silence. In the meantime, we absorbed the splendor of the show space, and both Tilda Swinton and Charlotte Gainsbourg sitting front and center.
Design talent aside, Haider is a master at setting an atmosphere that never fails to hit an emotional chord. While sometimes a little monastic, for fall he hit a more seasonal tone, choosing crooner Frank Sinatra and his song Autumn Leaves to connect us with his rich autumnal color sense. He began with darkened greens and purples held together with a broad cinched leather belt of clay brown. And then, in a spectacular single eggplant suit, he burst out a with double-layered peplum of pumpkin and saffron. He followed this with a simply draped ochre dress and then a high-collared blouse under a long slim coat, looks reminiscent in shape and color of Sabilla, Romeo Gigli and even Gianfranco Ferrè in the early 90s.
Eventually the colors turned, like the seasons, from richer russets to burnt reds. Silhouettes changed, too. Although quite contained to start—in particular a beautiful wide-legged and high-waisted trouser worn with the deepest V blouse—shapes quickly evolved into the pod-like folds of a shantung dress and the undulating drapes of a red coat and scarf, secured in place by a wide black leather belt.
Ackermann has long been recognized for his skill with leather, which, here, wasn’t restricted to accessories alone, but folded into unusual skirts and outerwear pieces. While the effect was a little heavy for some of these elaborate shapes, they worked well in a rich tan leather dress and jackets where the volumes and weight were more controlled.
The exquisite colors, layers and masterful wrapping reached a crescendo of cobalt blue and purples, but it was the spare simplicity of a mauve V-neck dress, and final exit, that may suggest his next anticipated move.