A startling screech of sound jolted the front row on this grey and rainy Saturday morning at the Haider Ackermann show. Then slowly, as the models walk up a flight of stairs and down a hallway before finally attaining the main catwalk in front of the eagerly awaiting audience, the music began to play.
The unmistakable sounds of Franz Schubert’s Trio in E-flat, which had a staring role in the classic vampire film The Hunger, filled the air. Its eerie haunting melody layered with a rhythmic pulsing sound that slowly and surely began to pick up speed as the show progressed. Not unlike the heart beats of many Ackermann fans who took in this fall/winter 2014 collection of regal minimalistic designs.
Each model, their hair sculpted flat beneath wide headbands and their pale faces adorned with two slender lines of thread to mimic razor thin eyebrows, looked like modern versions of a pre make up Gloria Swanson circa Sunset Boulevard. Their haughty regard made even more aloof by the designers choice to create long and fluid silhouettes that cloaked the models in languorous luxury.
In the past, Ackermann has made his mark by layering up his draping designs; stacking vest upon shirt upon jacket. All of it held to the body via a wide obiesque belt to create a sculptural effect. This time, however, the designer challenged himself to explore the beauty of simplicity.
This meant full cut pants with hems pooling on the floor and loose cashmere sweaters with sleeves finishing well past the end of the arms. Roomy jumpsuits that hinted at trousers, like a shadow of its former self, obscured the female form, and sinuous turtle neck dresses used the apparition of a sliver of skin down the center of the torso for a shot of sensuality.
There were some more fitted pieces in the collection. Such as cropped snakeskin pants and Ackerman’s now iconic undulating fitted leather jackets. But the story of this show, with its dark color palette, masculine undertones, and slouchy shapes was to create a luxurious collection that spoke volumes though its understated grace.