PARIS, France — Haider Ackermann likes his man luscious and decadent: wrapped in silks, velvets and brocades, layered in robes, tuxedos and kimonos; fragrant of incenses and spleen; coated in wonderfully dense tones. He likes his man a bit rough and a tad muscular, too. The clash of these two opposites — the aristocrat and the stray dog — is what makes his vision both charming and intoxicating, if at times a tad cliché. You know, Le Maudit is an enduring icon, but it seems like such style has been distilled into a formula a century or so ago. The perils of going "history book" are there. Ackermann luckily stops right before the precipice, and that makes his work resonant.
The collection the designer showed today was one of his most accomplished, probably because his love of roughness triumphed over his love of decadence. Ackermann clearly works around the idea of the wardrobe. He takes staples — from the blouson to the dinner jacket — and gives them a makeover. In this sense, very little changes from one season to the next. It's the way things are mixed, matched and mismatched that makes the difference. With their fisherman hats and stompy boots, the Ackermann posse looked finally ready to take the street and leave aside their opium, cushions and salons. It will be interesting to see where Ackermann heads from here. Decadence, you know, can't last forever.