There is always an anger to this Columbian-born, Galliano-trained designer’s collections that is both alluring and a touch intimidating - dark colours, deconstruction and roughly pulled up hair imply an inherent aggression that he won't consider playing to anyone else's tune - but today there was such beauty in the anger that his status as one of Paris' most valued talents is absolute.
But for all its moody, cerebral rumblings and exquisitely conceived ideas, it also simply gave you that feeling in the pit of your stomach – so valued during Fashion Week and yet by no means a given: "I want that."
He began with three trouser suits: black shot with purple, with gold and with magenta - the jackets, with their collars raised and their shoulders subtly exaggerated, tucked into the mannish trousers. The models walked in slow unison to classical music that set a calm tone for a collection that was full of ideas and triumphantly unique, it's slower pace all the better to appreciate it all.
Rich silk and brocade dressing gown coats fell off the body over sheer hessian day coats over metallic lamé vests and sheer chiffon blouses. There was a brilliant use of colour: an emerald tux came over olive silk trousers - featuring low crotches or tapered tidily to the ankle - under peacock blue chiffon hooded tops with an ethereal train floating behind: turquoise and blue; ochre and green – they weren’t colours that should go well together but they did, beautifully.
Leather jackets with cutaway sleeves or missing panels at each rib pulled in more floating chiffon creations. Hooded and veiled, they fell to floor-length skirts that were fitted over the hips and then slipped away to full trains behind – Ackermann can tailor the lightest fabric and the sturdiest - and he lets them hang in perfect unison so you just want to keep watching to see what else he might do.
There were sequin checked coats and shapely evening jackets that were expertly draped diagonally and then knotted at the front – waiting lists start here – and Natasha Poly closed the show in shimmering silver lamé pleats held on by wide matching braces. It was modern and glamorous, wearable and absolutely new – a definitive triumph of a show.
With very special thanks to the team at Ann Demeulemeester / Haider Ackermann BVBA 32 for exclusive privilages afforded to us during the shows.