PFW Spring 2015: Why Haider Ackermann makes everyone so nervous
I was a little anxious about heading backstage for Haider Ackermann’s show. It’s not like I was even going to interview him—but he’s one of my few fashion crushes. So much so that ELLE Canada’s beauty director, Vanessa Craft, jokingly describes him as my “fashion husband.” Turns out I’m not the only one who gets a little jittery around Ackermann. Wella Professionals global director, Eugene Souleiman, confided to me that he’d had no sleep and that he was feeling a little antsy before the show. “It’s going to be one of those moments when people say ‘Hey do you remember Haider Ackermann’s spring 2015 show?’ It’s a bit like when we did the McQueen show with the Kate Moss hologram. Like—whoa—holy shit. Do you know what I mean? I’m feeling a lot of pressure—more than any other show this season. I was colouring hair until 4 a.m. and then came here at 5. I’m on zero sleep. I haven’t even had time for a bloody coffee!” he said, laughing. While Souleiman was chatting, he was slashing away at the wig carefully taped in place on the model’s head. “Haider’s collection marks a real shift for him, and we needed to make a strong statement with the hair,” he explained. “I love it; it’s almost pure and otherworldly. I based it on the hairstyle of a Buddhist monk where it’s shaved at the neck and shaped into a bowl. I’m calling it the monk buzz cut. It’s ugly hair for beautiful clothes—I think that’s very stylish. This is when having a bad hair day works.”The wigs were dyed anthracite, a teal-grey colour. After the models’ hair was flattened onto their heads, the wigs were taped on and the stylists created their own version of the Buddhist-monk bowl cut.
And how did M.A.C Cosmetics artist Yadim handle the pressure?
The dress rehearsal was over and
Yadim and his team had less than 30 minutes to finish the looks when I caught up with him. “We’re not quite there—but we will be,” he smiled. “The good news is that Haider is over the moon! That’s a huge relief!” The look is based on the idea of alien beauty and Yadim’s assignment from Ackermann was to make the models look like they came from another world. “Haider told me that he’s obsessed with the
bleached brow right now and that the girls had to have them to be otherworldly. There aren’t a lot of designers who can ask the models to do this, but it’s a sign of respect that they do it for him. If the industry allows you to bleach their eyebrows, especially the models’ agents, there is a lot at stake. It’s a risk, but it’s worthwhile. The girls look stunning.” Aside from the bleached brows, Yadim paled out the girls, including their arms, using M.A.C Face and Body foundation. “It has an interesting texture; it almost goes on like a tinted moisturizer; it’s a very sheer application, but when you build it up it turns in to a waxy consistency and you really can get a lot of coverage with it. That’s why it’s great for the body.” After a wash of Face and Body on their face and limbs, the models were powdered down with Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing powder, which creates a subtle luminosity. The goal was to make it look like it’s coming from within. For the lip, Yadim mixed a number of different Paint Pot shades together, and he added a touch of gloss to the lip and eye area for some shine. “There’s plenty to play with in terms of textures. There’s the matte skin and a shiny lip and eye. It’s like she has arrived from a spaceship.” The finishing touch? The white eyelashes. “We had settled on a look, and it actually was Haider who suggested it needed one more thing to take it to a different place. As the brows were bleached, why not the lashes? Or at least make them look white! To me it was almost obvious, and he loved it. We ended up making our own mascara using M.A.C white pigment as well as Prime Lash.” So how was he feeling with less than 30 minutes to go? “There’s never a show where I don’t have that little nervous gut. Some give me more than others. With Haider, you have to be in the moment. He has both an intellectual and a spiritual approach to his work. That’s the reason I love doing his shows.” Now, you may be wondering if my fashion husband and I had a moment. No, not really—he did look at me once as he walked by cloaked in a wool wrap—and politely but firmly said: “No! No photographs.” (To be honest, I was just holding my phone. I had no intention of photographing him!) He then scurried away to carefully examine Yadim’s and Souleiman’s work. Better them than me.
So what does an alien beauty wear? See my favourite pieces from Ackermann’s collection.
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