There's nothing the fashion industry loves more than a collection that hits a collective nerve - strong men faint, stronger women weep, a designer is wreathed in kisses until the circus moves on to the next hot name. For Autumn/Winter 2011, that fashion moment undoubtedly belonged to Haider Ackermann. You can't help but hope the moment is more than fleeting, given the immense talent his show today demonstrated.
Today was, arguably, Ackermann's coup de foudre. It certainly felt like it consolidated all the fuss that has errupted, seemingly overnight, about this long-term fixture on the Paris Fashion Week schedule. The really gratifying thing about Ackermann's show is that, despite all the furore surrounding him, you never sensed that he had altered or compromised his vision at all to pander to the fashion-hungry crowd. Everything he showed was pure Ackermann, the delicate mixes of colour, contrasts of textures, those sinuous silhouettes he has been developing slowly, methodically, for years. It's especially difficult, therefore, to pinpoint why they felt so right, why they felt like exactly what you wanted to see, and why the crowd rose up to applaud this, just the latest in a litany of faultless collections from Ackermann.
There were, of course, some new devlopments. Ackermann's work always progresses, today we had a new focus on outerwear, eminently desireable coats bisected about the hip in a textured black and white wool. Those were a wearable (or rather, more commercial) contrast to caped floor-length numbers, their fullness pulled against the body in front. If they sound a bit like something Avedon would have snapped back in the fifties, you'd be right, but somehow, even topped with an attenuated beehive, they looked rigorously modern.
That was the black and white, but the joy of this collection was the colour. And what colours: amethyst, teal, peridot green in pearlescent silks folded and wrapped around the body, knotted up with hefty crocodile waistcinchers that Ackermann used to cinch anything but the waist, wrapping them across and around the body. Fabric looped and ruched around the neck, gloves were scrunched over the wrists. It's difficult not to fall into description, because everything warrants much discussion - even the way those gauntlets fell looked carefully considered and intricately thought-out.
Maybe that's what felt so wonderful about this show - the attention Ackermann lavished on every detail, the perfection and thoroughness of his vision as a whole. That's incredibly rare in fashion. What's even rarer is an audience of industry bigwigs roaring with unabashed, unashamed approval from the back to - yes - the front rows. That's a fashion moment Ackermann will savour for a long time to come. Although you get the feeling it's far from a one-off.