Haider Ackermann's pirouette onto fashion's center stage with his epochal Fall 2011 collection launched a thousand comparisons with Romeo Gigli, another poetic dreamer who, two decades ago, made Paris weep with wonder. Gigli's cautionary career proved that a signature so particular can be both blessing and curse. That's the niggling in the back of one's mind when approaching a new Ackermann show. His men's collection is in its infancy, but it's a testament to the distinctiveness of his first presentation last Spring that the same apprehension already applies.

Faced by Ackermann's signatures—the opulent fabrics and languid proportions, the flowing scarves and lustrous waistcoats— most people would agree that the Haider man is a dandy. But for Ackermann, dandyism is a state of mind, rather than a dress code. "More distant, more reclusive," he offered by way of definition tonight. And there were more mores when he talked about his new collection: "More mature, more interior, more sober." Herringbone and gray flannel were the new standards, leaving the jacket in lilac velvet like a last gasp of past splendors. Except that Ackermann had really just made the richness more discreet. The silhouettes were still extreme, the proportions extravagant, the layering louche. Tear it all apart and you could walk away with a smart camel blouson or fur-lined parka, a striped cardigan coat or that icon of sobriety, a gray flannel topcoat.

One of Ackermann's young models came to say good-bye after the show, returned from the designer's dreamworld to the everyday of jeans and skateboard. The transformation in ten minutes was so striking that it provoked an onlooker to ask Ackermann what kind of transport he imagined his men would prefer in their full Haider rig. "A Kawasaki to Scotland," he promptly answered. Lord Byron on a bike? Maybe Ackermann is making the right moves after all.