Fabric like vapours...............................Haider Ackermann, SS 15, Couvent des Cordeliers, 15 rue de l'Ecole de Médecine, Paris

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A 'last minute ticket' to an A-grade fashion show doesn't ensure you a seat near the front row. It does however, get you right in the thick of thingsOn tip-toes at the back of the Haider Ackermann Spring Summer 2015 collection, I witnessed a hush fall on this often frantic fashion crowd. You could have heard a pin drop!  No one even took notice of  Kanye West, as it was the unfolding spectacle in the Couvent des Cordeliers on Rue de l'Ecole de Médecine that commanded full attention.

Eerie vapours like thick incense rose in this medieval place as if the rites of some ancient spell were being performed. Fighting to hold my position I too waited in anticipation. From the silence a drone of music began and slowly the models appeared.

Right at the back its hard to see the full look on the runway, and for me the model's shoes were completely out of view.  Still any glimpses I could grab of the models passing by was dramatic, such as the otherworldly pudding-bowl powdered wigs, the girls strolled out in. Ackermann presented ghostly soft tones, at first with bare shoulders. Then suits, trench coats and comfortable sweaters that gave way to a luxurious pallet of lingerie pinks, greys, whites and purples.

The fabrics were translucent and seemed to be moving over the models’ bodies like the smoky vapours rising above. This lux-femininity came in contrast with Ackermann's iconic wrapped-leather belts. This buckling constricted the figure and the fabric, producing corseted shell-like jackets and a top heavy silhouette.

These forms where organic and electric all at once, in metallic satins the colours of red wine, pewter and bronze. The image of a grey-blue coat hanging off one shoulder over mille-feuille ruffles impressed me despite my far off position. This effervescent fabric was paired with shinny patent leather pants, perhaps a nod to Sadomasochism and the designer left the audience both amazed and unsettled.

The Ackermann moment ended with the models marching down the runway in line, with the colours of the entire collection visible all at once. Backless garments were also exposed in this finale, of which fine fabric made the most sensitive lines across the body.  Standing up the back might not have the allure of the front row, but when a collection is as good as this, it impresses across the distance. With the show over the crowed rushed out sweeping me along with them. I knew it had been a good show and so did Bill Cunningham as he was there intently snapping away, documenting this fascinating crowd as only he can.