Slow fashion was the goal of the designer's painterly shades and sinuous pleating
The antithesis of fast fashion. As the models walked slowly down the runway, heads crowned with a frame of feathers, Haider Ackermann’s show seemed so far from the rackety, celebrity driven, See Now, Buy Now collections — even if Tilda Swinton was sitting front row, readying for her daily art/fashion performance in the theatre with historian and curator Olivier Saillard.
The collection was dense, polished, and perhaps with a tinge of tailoring reflecting a new role that Haider has taken on as menswear designer for Berluti.
But this slow and beautiful show had one fiery aspect: colour. A slim dress was a slithering line of greenish gold velvet not seen since the time of Mariano Fortuny.
Then there was a blush pink for a suit with a taut jacket and slim trousers, showing the midriff in a way that seemed natural, not sexy. Another dress, in the pleats that have become an emblem of the Spring/Summer 2017 season, was in a vivid orange.
“Birds of Paradise — on acid,” said Haider backstage to describe his collection, although the effect was not hallucinogenic, but rather gentle and graceful. “I wanted to have explosions of colour,” he continued. “There are explosions everywhere, but out of violence you can find aesthetics.”
It is always hard to understand the thought process of an artist who expresses himself through clothes, but a half-politicised message came through on slogan T-shirts — something of a fashion story this season.
“Be you” was written in giant letters on a pale lilac sweat top, teamed with a bright, white shirt. Perhaps the most powerful piece was the one that announced “SILENCE”.
You could argue that beauty can never be silenced. And in less than 40 pieces, Haider Ackermann seemed to be articulating a story about grace under pressure. He told it with real clothes and painterly colours and it made for a wrenchingly beautiful show.