Strength and fragility are Haider Ackermann's lasting preoccupations, the subjects he returns to each season when you see him backstage. "It's a very thin line between them," he said today. Still, this controlled collection came down on the side of strength more so than some previous seasons have.
Ackermann reduced his dress offerings to just one for Fall. From a designer famous for straps spilling off shoulders, twisting seams, and trailing hems, the smoky gray panne velvet column gown here was notable for its spare simplicity. Tailoring is where his interests lie at this moment. Some of it was awkwardly oversize, with full-legged pants pooling around the model's ankles, or droopy sleeves extending almost to the knees. Those pieces were moody and evocative as all get out—like a girl in her soldier lover's uniform, or, as the designer suggested afterward, like Marilyn Monroe emerging from the hospital all bundled up against the paparazzi. (Monroe was on the sound track.) But they were also a bit indulgent on Ackermann's part.
When you see his clothes in the front rows—and we've seen plenty this week, not just on Tilda Swinton—it's the sharper pieces that his customers gravitate to, with strong shoulders and defined waists. Gratifyingly, there was more of that sort of thing on the runway in the form of a houndstooth military jacket with the collar torn off and the seams left raw, or another jacket in surplus brown with purple velvet lining its ruffled peplum.
Fur is new territory for Ackermann, but he proved a dab hand. Women will surely put the power of their wallets behind his shearling flight jackets and his collarless beaver-fur coats. Those were the kind of indulgences that customers will find hard to resist.