Paris Fashion Week: Haider Ackermann's moment
Haider Ackermann is the name on everyone's lips. The Colombian-born, Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts-educated designer, has been showing in Paris since 2002. But only recently has the buzz reached a roar.
He won the Swiss Textile Award, and last year was invited to be the guest designer at Pitti W, the women's wear counterpart to the Pitti Uomo men's wear fair in Florence.
In November, Ackermann got a stamp of approval from Karl Lagerfeld, who told an interviewer that Ackermann was the only designer he could imagine suceeding him at Chanel.
And now Ackermann is among the top contenders to head Dior, post-Galliano.
So, for this collection the pressure was on. And Ackermann answered it with the most stunning show so far this Paris Fashion Week. When dozens of well-wishers rushed backstage afterward to congratulate him, it was clear: This is his moment.
The collection represented draping at its most artful, using silks so richly colored and light-reflective that they could have jumped out of a Renaissance painting. Not that this was the goddesslike draping of yore; it had a modern edge and a sexual charge.
The silhouette was long, and languid, with oxblood, emerald green and midnight blue silk wrapping the figure with such fluidity that it looked as if the clothes were dripping off the body.
Next, he managed to bring a new level of elegance to pants. Boucle and stovepipe-thin, they were the foundation for asymmetrical, long-and-short drapey dress and coats, cinched with extra-wide leather belts. And indeed, there was a whiff of Chanel to the look -- Chanel in 10 years perhaps.
Other pants were full-cut and jewel-toned, one pair in deep green under a liquidy burgundy silk top with a halter neck and a scarfy end left trailing.
All of the models had conical 'dos, with a single reed-thin strip of hair hanging down the back, bringing an otherworldy quality to Ackermann's beauties.
It was a gorgeous moment on the runway, and one that ensured Ackermann's next chapter will be an exciting one.
-- Booth Moore in Paris
Photos: Looks from the Haider Ackermann fall-winter 2011 runway collection shown during Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times