"A handsome woman" was Haider Ackermann
's précis backstage. It was an efficient summary of a new collection that stuck resolutely to the gender play that is a signature of his brand. Tailored jackets with a flourish at the lapels, and trousers with a lot of action at the waist—these are the Ackermann trademarks. But after the heavy woolen houndstooths and sculpted army fatigues of his last collection, he turned instead to the shimmering metallic fabrics we're seeing so much of elsewhere this week, amping up the color and shine. The multicolor crystals embroidered on a man's jacket were a nice bit of unexpectedness, and the dandy factor was similarly high on a boxy sapphire jacket and slouchy amethyst pants combo. Inserted in between the tailoring were long dresses in tulle and silk pleated Fortuny-style. When layered with other pieces, these served the cause of lightness well. But worn without a jacket, as they were a few times here, the dresses were more wanton than handsome; they'll pose problems of the see-through sort that Ackermann chose not to concern himself with. That's the kind of indulgence that eventually proves tiresome, even from a designer as talented as the one in question here. Which is why it was a minor thrill to see him try his hand at something genuinely new for him. Mixed in among his dandified layers was a pair of minimal black jumpsuits. Sleek and simple. Even better was a black off-the-shoulder dress that dipped into a precipitous V in back, its tight sleeves apparently suspending it in place. We'd like to see Ackermann push a lot further into new territory next season.