Fashion, it seems, has caught up with Haider Ackermann's way of thinking - romantic, poetic and more than a little dark. The tumultuous applause which has greeted his past few collections is proof enough of his growing appeal, and as is his wont Ackermann doesn't seem to be up for changing anything quickly.
For Autumn/Winter 2010, Ackermann continued his explorations into delicate deconstruction, contrasting surfaces and muted colour - his palette, in fact, was composed entirely of barely-colours, an off-brown, an almost-grey, and, naturally, lots of black. There was, as ever, subtle and slow evolution: this was a sharper offering than we've seen from him of late, with tough-looking planes of wool felt, calfskin and puckered ostrich curling around the torso in tight little jackets, a zippered peplum peeling away to form a bustle-like shape at the rear. His influentially sinuous floor-length skirts now came with slit high up both front and back to reveal flesh, as did the laser-cut surfaces of a pair of leather dresses fretted until they resembled lace. Inserted across jackets and skirts and trembling over limbs, this was beautiful, an ephemeral fabric seemingly caught on the cusp of decay. But slashed into a racer-back dress and drawn up into a bustle, it began to look a little laboured - something Ackermann has always avoided previously. The same feeling was evident in some of the more exaggerated of those topstitched fabric panels, whorling and knotting around the body and seeming as if they had no place to go.
What felt interesting were a few of Ackermann's new departures - long-line, asymmetric coats loosely fitted to the body, their curvilinear cut reflected in firmly rounded shoulders. In subtle shades of velvety boiled wool with contrasts of soft suede, sometimes with a fold or lapel falling open, these seemed different not only to Ackermann's work to date, but also to everything else we've seen for next season, as did the pair of full, floor-length capes trimmed in leather and worn with a neat military hood and tourniquet-tight trousers. It's interesting to see a talent like Ackermann confounding expectations and feeling free to create what he feels is right rather than pandering to expectation - he should find a middle ground between the two to satisfy devoted converts and new fans alike.