Its a shame Haider Ackermann works in fashion. Its a shame that after he staged a masterful, painterly, breathtakingly exquisite collection, you heard people complaining that the soundtrack sounded the same as last season, that the colours were similar, or questioning the wearability of sheer poetry. Well, okay, they were questioning the wearability of sheer tulle, but in Ackermann's hands it was poetry. I hate to break this to you, but some things are even bigger than fashion.
'I have Delacroix's sense of colour and I compose. A toilette is as good as a painting'. Charles Fredrick Worth founded haute couture and our modern system of fashion on that mantra. I couldn't help but flash back to those words at Haider Ackermann's show when faced with the lush, succulent shades of tangerine, chartreuse and inky blue washed across shot-silk trouser suits, the fluttering cobalt chiffon pieced into long trailing dresses, and a finale of neutrals so delicate they barely whispered across the body. This wasn't fashion as we know it, really. This was closer to art - it always sounds pretentious when you load clothing with those adumbrated cod-philosophical high culture references, but the purity and beauty of Ackermann's work calls for it.
For Spring/Summer 2012, Ackermann continued on his path. The success of his previous season have neither cowed him now buoyed him. He shrugs off the rare criticism and the fulsome, effusive praise equally. Ackermann is simply creating clothes that express his vision of the world, or rather his vision of what the world could be like - he played 'Imagine' by John Lennon over this show, if that's any indication of his misty-eyed, rose-tinted vision. Ackermann is one of those designers whose aesthetic can conjure an entire world, a universe of exquisite nomads wrapped in sparkling layers of embroidery, lustrous fabric and divine colour. I keep banging on about that colour, but it was, frankly, euphoric. As was this whole show - a soaring, roaring triumph.
This was a collection that gave you a rush like your skull being trepanned, a sense of lightness. It transported you. That is what great fashion should be about - not ringing in the changes or scrabbling after trends, but expressing imagination, strength and utter beauty. The number of truly great designers working in Paris have been depleted over the past few seasons. Thank God we have new blood to number amongst them.