Hakaan Yildirim has always been into the simplicity of sportswear, cutting his clothes slick and minimal in a way that automatically draws comparisons with high-performance athletic attire. Sometimes, he's got bogged down in reference, making clumsy overtures at Alaia's body-con (understandable: Alaia is a reference almost every designer has pulled out of the bag once in a while) or even Rick Owens or Riccardo Tisci (a little more dubious on the slippery inspiration versus plagiarism scale). For spring, however, Hakaan managed to keep it pure and simple. He also started to establish what his label is going to be about.
This time, Hakaan's clothes looked sharp and sleek in a manner he has never achieved before. They didn't look entirely original, granted - the opening exit, a Persil-white bomber and peplum jutting over a sheer skirt, could have been culled from half-a-dozen catwalks over the past three seasons. The aerated mesh of that skirt later made some of the collection's best looks, cut as neat sports jackets or cut into curvy little dresses as see-through panels across the chest and thighs. Even as a breast-baring bustier dress or no-holes-barred sweater, it managed to stay the right side of that slutty-chic divide.
Hakaan's tailoring throughout seemed well-executed and the clothes moved well. That's a problem he's had in the past, with clothing that grabbed at the body in lots of highly inappropriate places, in highly unsuitable fabrics. By contrast, there seemed to be genuine design behind these garments - it still raises ones hackles somewhat that Hakaan is showing for the third time in Paris before that emerged, and before the aforementioned rudimentary issues were ironed out. But lets not be too picky - fashion always has attention deficit disorder; a good show wipes the slate clean for a designer to start anew. That's what this Hakaan show felt like, a clean slate. It will be interesting to see where we go from here - and that's something I didn't imagine myself saying.