Waxed, angular hair was a jaunty continuum from the same kind of punkish styles we had just seen at Junya Watanabe. Here, long bands of white cloth were interwoven within the hair and left to trail on the runway. The soundtrack was a low register vibration, intermittent with the sound of humming machinery and breathing life. Waffled and smocked fabrics rendered short A-line skirts into Ackermann’s new, modernist shape. There were also more a-typical floor length skirts, in shades of acid yellow, orange and peonie pink.
Lamé blouses printed in leopard print, metallic plissé and sporty concentinas saw matt and shine highlight and fold the form. Gold-foiled splashes on leather, metallic leather pants and flat pointy shoes co-existed as hard and soft. Meanwhile, dark red prints embroidered with gold were evocative and intriguing. Ackermann's fitted military silhouette further sweetened in the form of small jacquard bodices with high-waisted cigarette pants. Effeminate and rather generic, he seems to be now be going for a young, party girl customer.
There has certainly been an air of Capucci and Issey Miyake in the air for S/S 2017. Here, the metallic plissé gowns in shades of mossy gold were the highlight of the show. There was a time when his clothes felt more his own – than someone else’s.
The industry seems to be split when it comes to Ackermann. Some take great comfort in now knowing what they will get – others are looking for a step-change. With Tilda Swinton in residence on the front row, there is no doubt that Haider Ackermann has now got his brand / tribe down pact. It now feels like he is in retail expansive mode, rather than brand building territory. However, I kind of miss the days when his collections felt like a pioneering conversation and a considered statement. That incredible collection where he dyed all the models’ hair grey – way before anyone was doing it – and was talking poignantly about older age being something to be proud of, is case in point. Sure, his clothes have become way more fun and more tailored – but it’s possible for aesthetics to step up without feeling a renewed connection. This man is a poet. Magpies we might be – but shine, colour and sparkle require an undercurrent of depth. The slogan tees, once a garment of integrity, were an attempt at this – but with 'those' tees at Christian Dior, it might be time to step away from this medium for a while.
January will see his debut collection as creative director at LVMH's Berluti. His increased focus on tailoring at his own house will provide more of a continuum with what he will be expected to no doubt deliver at Berluti. As opposed to his womenswear offering, it feels as if his menswear collection answers a particular call within that market – and no doubt, his future will be bright.