That’s right: Franco-Colombian master tailor and former Berluti creative director Haider Ackermann, whose decidedly luxurious bomber jackets, capes and tailored gowns have made him the go-to choice for some of Hollywood’s red carpets’ boldest A-listers, returning after a two-year runway hiatus. In an unexpected (on paper at least) twist of events, he teamed up with Fila, the Italian sportswear giant with the closest ties to the tennis world. (Although Ackermann’s last fashion show was in February 2020, he’s still a bit busy dressing up his most reliable high-profile looks Clients, his muses Tilda Swinton and Timothée Chalamet – who could forget the open-back blood-red pantsuit Chalamet wore to the Bones and All
premiere in Venice?)
if that’s what Ackerman wants The spirit of reappearance, the organized chaos of the fashion show in a way achieves it; a beam of white light shoots down the runway, the models walk at different speeds, clustered together, walking in a deliberate rhythm , which looks surprising. It also included an impressive array of recognizable faces: Stella Maxwell, Rebecca Longendyke, Lily McMenamy, and, as a finishing touch, Anok Yai in a white stretch bodysuit with a caped parka billowing behind her.
Then there were the costumes, which, despite all the other bells and whistles, were probably the most unexpected aspect of the show altogether. Ackerman is a notoriously disgusting sign. You’d be hard-pressed to find a contrasting seam that suggests he was the creator of one of his carefully tailored jackets or one of his sharply tailored trousers. Overcoming this fear and entering sportswear wasn’t easy for Ackermann at first. “We live in a world about logos and branding, and as you can see, I never wear a logo,” he chuckled, pointing to his (barely logo-less) white sweater. “But it’s a fascinating challenge to face that and embrace what’s not mine.”
Of course, Ackermann is also one of the most talented colorists in fashion – but his rich jewel tones and Soft, earthy tones have historically dominated his collections, and here he appeared in at least four looks in stark glacier white, with a swimming cap and goggles. It was followed by plenty of spandex and stretch jersey, from crisp neon greens and royal blues to kaleidoscopic sherbet oranges and yellows and a particularly glamorous salmon pink, and plenty of “Haider + Fila” sign. (Haider Ackermann embracing bodycon? We never thought we’d see this day.)
While they may seem unusual on paper, dig into Ackermann’s old catalogs and you’ll quickly notice that he always wears them up his sleeve His references to sportswear—even if the sleeves were cut from the finest French silk. The kitschy glamor of his smoking-jacket capes or ornately embroidered sweatpants reflected a designer who was always committed to comfort and ease of wear; though, he admitted, he was never particularly sporty. “I’ve always paired tracksuits with suits; I’ve been playing the game and flirting with my work for a long time,” he confirms. “But I have my own rhythm, my own vision and my own choice of fabrics, and I think Fila reached out to me not to repeat what has already happened.”
There is nothing pretentious about Ackerman’s clothes being regal. But in his first collection with Fila, you got the feeling that wasn’t what he wanted at all, anyway. “I want to hear the voices of young people,” he said, gesturing to the surroundings of the nightclub we were in. “The exciting thing about sportswear is that it gets your heart pumping. That’s why I accepted Fila’s invitation. It’s all about speed, excitement, energy, electricity.”