Metallic Flash..........................Haider Ackermann, Printemps/ Été 2014, Palais de Chaillot, Paris

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When you hear people talk about Fast Fashion, you usually think of High Street copies. But during Paris Fashion Week, a world allergic to such a concept, there is an electric pace one needs to get accustomed to. There is a cliché that high-fashion makes you wait, but honestly this isn't the case. Fashion Week is a race, a race to see the models ascend down the runway, a race to get that perfect cell-phone pic or as I discovered a race to secure a seat on the Fashion Bus

The Chambre Syndicale decides which designer presentations are included in the prestigious official schedule. But it is up to you to make sure you're not late and not missing a moment. For the top fashion editor or muse, a private driver is usually employed. Such a luxury will keep you looking as super fresh as Anna Dello Russo, however traffic in Paris is still a major hassle.

For the not so famous journalist or in this case illustrator, there is another mode of transport and one completely endearing in this world of high glamour. It is the Fashion Bus, or as I like to call it the Fashion School Bus. While cabs and private cars block the streets around high-profile designer shows, making it all feel like a chase in a James Bond film, a majority of these fashionable people are in fact on their way to get a seat for the next excursion. This bus is organised for free if you hold a show invitation. 

For someone inspired by style, I think there is nothing more fashionable than someone short on time. No street-style photographer would get such dynamic shots if people were not moving so dramatically in their outfits. And perhaps this is all thanks to folk rushing to the forgotten Fashion Bus. 

On this particular occasion the bus sped me and a full house of fashionistas to see the work of Haider Ackermann. An artist whose work is far from something just whipped up with speed. Beneath the grand Palais de Chaillot, most of the fashion world rushed to assemble. There on a runway inky black Ackermann presented a wardrobe of colours, the likes of which I had never seen before, and struggle to replicate simply in paint. 

Although beautifully crafted with timely consideration, the excitement of attending such a presentation made the world of this wizard flash by in seconds. I scribbled notes while still focusing on the clothing. I didn't want to miss a beat. 

With precise execution, Ackermann delivered translucent fabrics which glowed with a metallic lustre.  Here layers of contrasting materials and delicate pleats wrapped the bodies of  powerful models. The character behind these creations was something of a rockstar, but merely saying this would simplify her elegance. In the darkness Ackermann's woman was leading a coven, rich in subtle colours and forms, ones so subtle that they appeared and then seemed to simply evaporate. 

It would be a dream to be patient and research Ackermann's work more closely and produce endless drawings of his shows. But in that fleeting moment, it was an honour to be in the fashion mix, racing to get a seat, and get a flash of what I really wanted to report on. 


This image was originally used in The Age, to illustrate Emily Ward's article 
Australian designers show where fashion was born, published in print and online on October 20 2013.