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Show Report

Show Report: Haider Ackermann A/W 17 Womenswear

by Lucy Norris on 5 March 2017

Lucy Norris reports on the Haider Ackermann A/W 17 show.

Lucy Norris reports on the Haider Ackermann A/W 17 show.

Straight after Watanabe, we headed over to the Theatre National de Chaillot - and we were greeted by more Bowie. This time in the guise of the opening show music. A female rendition of Wild is the Wind was, as the designer later said backstage, 'a special message to someone sat in the audience.' Nina Simone's infamous  ‘No Fear’ interview excerpt was also played, as Ackermann said 'her words are so right for now.'

It's been pretty much raining all week here in Paris, and sat in a rather grand Paris basement, the first thing that hit you within this collection was the monochrome colour palette. After the show, Ackermann explained: ‘For the last few seasons I have been exploring colour. This season I wanted it to be quite sober. There is so much going on in the world. It's time to stand still. I wanted to strip things back.’

Apart from the starkest of elegant tailoring, there was some booming, balletic style volumes on legs. The models wore fishnet style demi-skull caps and polo necks. The line was very graphic and the pale skin of many of the girls provided another stark contrast to the clothes. On a positive note, Ackermann has gone from only using two black models in last season's womenswear show - and none the season before - to using five in this show alone. Organic brushstrokes in a gold-brown were like branches drawn as a print up arms and across jackets. A huge hood on a black sheepskin jacket was worn in a slouchy style off one shoulder. There was a Dietrich dandy element to the collection and women also wore Georgian neckties. Pelmets also knocked on the door of one of Dietrich's spy movies and there was an overall film noir, Germanic quality to it all. A drawstring jacket in a deep squishy quilted fabric looked great. 

This collection seemed to be about taking back control. When I asked Ackermann about the emotion it evoked for him, he said he doesn't analyse his work in that way. I guess if you stop to do that, you lose the moment. As one of the models waited backstage to pose with him for a requested photograph, she and I exchanged smiles. The severity of the clothes she wore seemed in such stark contrast to the sweet soul I saw before me. As she quickly adopted the required expressionless demeanour that this industry requires of its mannequins - as she jumped on camera - I couldn't help but think that this woman and her joyful softness perfectly expressed the humanity of us all  - and that I had seen it when she was simply being herself. Being truly fearless is only possible when we are brave enough to let our guard down. When we are brave enough to connect. This week we have seen models be allowed to make eye contact and smile at people in the crowd at both Issey Miyake and Dries Van Noten. Maybe it's just time to allow our models to be humans on the runway too. 

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