Tilda Swinton rocked a red silk jacket and long slim skirt from Haider Ackermann's last show at the Cannes Film Festival, and the paparazzi took notice. Backstage, the designer admitted that all the subsequent attention piled the pressure on, but it also put him in a cheerful mood. "It made me want colors, brightness," he said, and that impulse led to a serenely beautiful Spring collection he called A Passage to India.
It wasn't until about halfway through, after a pair of black looks opened the show and a passage of smoky gray followed, that the color came in. Gorgeous saffron yellow and midnight blue were worth the wait. As for the silhouettes, there was a whiff of colonial India in the hammered silk cargo pants and rolled shorts, as well as in the washed leather epauletted jackets and vests. These were worn long and cutaway around the hips, or knotted around the waist. Whereas Balmain's fatigues were sexy, Ackermann's take on the season's developing military trend was soigné. But if his daywear was more approachable, the designer's draped evening dresses were just as uncompromising as they've always been. Take, for instance, the last look: The asymmetric gown covered only one breast, forcing the model who wore it to walk the runway covering the other with her hand. And you'd have to have the body of a goddess, not to mention the confidence of one, to pull off a draped jersey floor-skimmer in dusty lilac, or one of the long, clinging skirts with an inverted-U cutout to the middle thigh. Somehow, though, we suspect that Swinton won't be the only celebrity to wear them.