If there was a fragile, feminine grace to Haider Ackermann’s men’s collection fuelled by the porcelain-like self-ornamentation of the heavily tattooed boys by which it was inspired, the opposite was the case for his women’s collection. 'I just wanted them to be handsome,' Ackermann said backstage. 'Not beautiful, but handsome.' For his women, it translated into a mighty, authoritative aura, which had an enigmatic air about it, and the intrinsic sense of coolness associated with the handsome woman’s flag-bearers such as Katharine Hepburn and Diane Keaton. The sumptuous silks and the rich, royal metallics of Ackermann’s menswear – blue, bronze, golds – were kept intact, bestowing the women’s collection with the same opulent dandyism of its male counterpart, while translucent fabrics had been added in skirts and tops giving it that ghostly femininity you often come across in Ackermann’s work. An atmospheric soundtrack of what sounded like a shofar and Arab chanting layered the show with a pungent, esoteric undertone, which lined the otherwise pretty modern collection with some historical charm. This was the same princely magnificence conveyed by other designers this season, but executed in Ackermann’s rock and roll spirit. You couldn’t deny the ‘his and hers’ aspect of the two collections – 'she borrows the clothes, he borrows the clothes, they all borrow each other’s clothes,' the designer noted – but in Ackermann’s fantastical world, how could it ever get cheesy? It was as beautiful as it was handsome.
If there was a fragile, feminine grace to Haider Ackermann’s men’s collection fuelled by the porcelain-like self-ornamentation of the heavily tattooed boys by which it was inspired, the opposite was the case for his women’s collection. 'I just wanted them to be handsome,' Ackermann said backstage.
Haider Ackermann: Live panel discussion
Lou Stoppard, Mimma Viglezio, Georgina Goodman, Hettie Judah and Jez Tozer discuss the Haider Ackermann Spring/Summer 2014 collection live as it happens on 28 September 2013 at 10:30 BST. Chairs kindly supplied by the studios of Anj Smith, Barry Reigate, Henry Krokatsis and David Hockney, Wolfgang Tillmans and Nick Knight.