Haider Ackermann has always been a sensualist - the texture of his rich ruched and intricately pleated wools and silks has always been exquisite, likewise his buttery-soft lambskin jackets, hugging torso and curling away from the body at hem. This season, however, he broke new ground, and in a season dominated by rigid, unyielding tailoring and severe silhouettes, Ackermann chose another route. There was a new svelte sinuosity and even old-school sense of glamour to this collection, hems definitively dropped to ankle-length on softly draped bias-cut silk-satin skirts, jackets and trousers thick with foliate embroidery in burnished gold. In that richness, and in those fishtail skirts and fluttering, pliant trains, there was a sense of the Belle Époque, but the fabric was awarded a molten malleability that that era's trussed and buttressed 'feathered crabs' could seldom dream of. Indeed, it was that lightness of touch that kept everything looking exquisitely modern - high-waisted trousers, masses of silk fringe and short military jackets braided in gold had a hint of fin de siècle Spain or Latin America to them, but never lapsed into retro. If often there has seemed a somewhat harsh contrast between hard and soft at Ackermann's shows (those firm-shouldered biker-style jackets he does so well above short-sliced dresses that maybe cling a little too closely for comfort) this went someway to meshing the two veins of thought into one cohesive vision. Thus jackets had ruched and puckered peplums pulled into a fluttering dovetail above the rear, or the simple, casual ease of pyjamas in fluid silk. Likewise his draped and wrapped volumes, in mossy crepe and wool were imbued with an enviable grace and sensual ease other can only aspire to. Ackermann's colour palette is always accomplished, but this time it was irreproachable: aubergine, merlot-red, soft navy and beautiful, cloudlike shades of grey suffused with the vaguest touches of black and violet. A superlative display, Ackermann thoroughly deserved the rousing accolade to which he took his bows.
Ackermann's colour palette is always accomplished, but this time it was irreproachable: aubergine, merlot-red, soft navy and beautiful, cloudlike shades of grey suffused with the vaguest touches of black and violet.