September 30, 2011 Paris
For one thing, you book the tippy top of the modeling biz and they thank you for it. We witnessed Natasha Poly (ranked number two in the world on Models.com, for the record) doing just that backstage. "I think you're such a talented man," she said sincerely.
For another, you use your considerable talents to reconsider proportion. Ackermann's models have long walked on towering heels; his twisty, trailing silhouettes have demanded it. But for Spring, he was thinking along "rockabilly Lord Byron" lines (he loves a romantic poet, doesn't he?), and he put his girls in flats—backless oxfords slippers, to be precise.
They were a good fit for the new menswear elements in the collection—mismatched suits in bright silks and tie-print jacquards that showed off the designer's sublime sense of color, the jackets on the boxier side and the pants oversize and slouchy through the thighs. The layered, somewhat rumpled look sometimes included a washed leather vest under the jacket, other times a sheer shirt unbuttoned down to there, and in still other instances just a silk scarf, so that the back was exposed. Why so much menswear? "You love the idea that she would steal the clothes from her husband," he said, before correcting himself: "Her lover, not her husband."
It wasn't all a case of closet raiding, but the feminine side of Ackermann's story was the weaker one. Some of the pieces gave ammunition to critics who question the wearability of his clothes. Those Byronic robes would've come in handy to cover up dresses that were completely see-through above the waist. Better were the jackets with cutouts at the sides or across the back that he paired with stretchy skirts that scraped the floor behind the models' flats, or the lamé pleated dress in which Natasha closed the show.
This wasn't the blockbuster that last season was, but we'd still rate it a success for its cool new attitude.