Haider Ackermann pulls up a chair in the garden café of the Palais Royal in Paris and orders an espresso, apologizing profusely for being eight minutes late. With his tousled black curls, pink T-shirt and polka-dot scarf, he is both strikingly stylish and immediately likeable, a calming presence in the whirlwind of high fashion — which is precisely where Ackermann now finds himself. His fall 2009 show was a breakout performance: Exquisitely cut leather jackets paired with draped silk gowns captured the season’s modern rock ’n’ roll vibe. Now, Ackermann is poised for liftoff. Style.com included his collection in its top 10 of the season.
Why do you think your fall 2009 collection was such a success? “I don’t know — I actually preferred the winter before [fall 2008]. This fall, there was a ‘soldier’ feeling with the suits, but there was also beautiful embroidery from my trip to India. I love to work with contradiction, and perhaps that hit a nerve this time.”
How do you start each collection? “I always start with music. For fall, it was Leonard Cohen, which translated into ‘I’m Your Man’ being played on the runway. My show was at 10 a.m. on Saturday, so I wanted something calm and sensual to start the day.”
Where do you go for inspiration? “The street in the middle of the night. When you wander the streets and you don’t know where you’re going and you just let your mind wander...I could walk endlessly. I like the feeling of being lost. I also love India, Tibet and Morocco. You see women wrapped in just one piece of fabric and they look like the most elegant women on earth.”
View Haider's Fall 2009-2010 collection here!
Whom do you admire? “ Yves Saint Laurent. His only intention was to make a woman look beautiful. There is no pretension in that. But he is as much my idol as the women in India.”
How do you feel about the comparisons of your work with that of Rick Owens? “Time will prove that he’s moving his way and I’m moving my way. At the same time, it’s a compliment.”
What excites you about working with leather? “When you have a woman in silk and leather — in a long evening train with something leather on top — there is a certain perversion to it. It’s fragile and forceful at the same time.”
There isn’t a Haider Ackermann boutique. Will that change? “No. I have dreams, but a store isn’t one of them.”
Haider Ackermann is available at Bacci’s in Vancouver, Corbò in Toronto and Mona Moore and Les Créateurs in Montreal.
View our Fall/Winter 2009-2010 trends report
Gucci's Fall/Winter 2009-2010 collection
Celebrity style faux pas