The Colombian-born designer’s first collection for Berluti, unveiled at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, was exquisite, a symphony in velvet, suede and cord, classic yet right on the button of cool. Berluti took a radical step at the Paris menswear shows for autumn/winter 2017, though one that was also familiar. It was the debut of Haider Ackermann as creative director at this brand, a man who made his name with asymmetrical, modernist designs at his namesake label.
While Sartori’s Berluti had hewed quite closely to the leatherwear brand’s roots, Ackermann’s vision of the label was, well, quite Haider Ackermann. His suits of often subtly contrasting browns and blacks were paired with coats in rich reds, blues and gold and woolly halo collars. Trousers stopped at the ankle over Berluti’s trademark Chelsea boots. There could have been a tendency to be overly reverential with the materials created by Berluti’s craftspeople, but instead Ackermann toyed with and manipulated them, created a fluid silhouette by using draping silk, or employing velvet for a sense of depth and tactility.
Shortly before his runway debut for Berluti, in Paris, Haider Ackermann’s excitement was palpable. “There’s nothing to compare it to,” he said, fiddling with his skew-whiff wire-frame spectacles and ruffling his curls, like a Victorian scientist putting the finishing touches to a time machine. For the first time on the Berluti catwalk and it was a bold, serious statement of intent as to Berluti’s new momentum.