PARIS, France — Post-election France has become a bastion of optimism. The mood is infectious. Haider Ackermann’s translation was that he wanted his second collection for Berluti to be “smooth, gentle, effortless.” And, he added, in deference to the label’s place at the pinnacle of luxury menswear, “Very precious”.
He’s long been attuned to preciousness in his own career, where it feeds the drama and the decadence that draw him. Ackermann is understandably keen to make a clear division between that and his new job. “I’m at the service of the house of Berluti,” he insisted, “All the patina, all the codes are still here.” Like the subtle luxe of the skins, and the classic straightforwardness of blazers and bombers. “But the house is supporting me so much, I feel more free,” Ackermann added. “I can just go my way and try it.”
For his sophomore outing at Berluti, he’d definitely brought more of himself. This new collection was infused with a hint of his signature loucheness: the slouch of the trousers, the sheen of silk and satin, the physicality of the styling, quietly erotic in its own muted way. The mood was enhanced by a typically dramatic soundtrack from his longtime collaborator Senjan Jansen, plus the presence of Stella Tennant, Liya Kebede and Mica Arganaraz on the runway.
“It’s always interesting to have women around,” Ackermann said. “I like the intimacy of borrowing." You imagine he’d find that ambiguity appealing too. It's one more way he’s subtly nuancing Berluti’s essence.