#SuzyPFW: Haider Ackermann And Giambattista Valli – Two Tales Of One City

Haider Ackermann: Girls and Boys

“Je t’aime, Oh, oui je t’aime! Moi non plus… “, the rhythmic lyrics of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, from what the French singer called the ‘erotic’ year of 1967, flowed through the show of Haider Ackermann, but with a slight change in detail: back then boys were not trying so hard to look like girls – or vice versa.

For the autumn/winter 2019 show, all the voluptuous curves of Brigitte Bardot – for whom the music was written – were replaced by slender, skinny creatures. Boys will be girls, will be boys – and ever onwards.

“But it’s not about unisex – it’s about borrowing – combining men and women on the runway, it’s something quite intimate between girls, it’s an idea of France and Paris,” the designer explained.

“I keep repeating that it is borrowing clothes from your loved one,” he continued. “There is something happening in this world. I don’t understand it – but it intrigues me.”

Well, the look was not so complicated. It was a version of linear fashion with slim, striped coats (male) and a female outfit with the same lines cut across the breast and shoulders.

The woman might get the inevitable camel coat, wearing it over patterned red and silver trousers, while he had a mini-flowered, silver-banded tailored suit.

With a relatively small number of patterns and very little colour, the masculinity was paramount. And the colours tightly limited by the designer’s usual standards.

“There’s been so much about my colour that I wanted to have red, black and white and do something really graphic, working more with print,” Ackermann said.

So he is no longer a romantic in his designs? He put his hand towards an abstract pattern on jacquard and said: “Butterflies. It all comes from butterflies. Very abstract – but the most beautiful butterflies ever.”

Giambattista Valli: International Bright Young Things

“I would love to show to you the mood, a girl mood, something quite intimate between them,” explained Giambattista Valli. “It’s 20 years that I lived here, so my vision is: what is Paris and France and all these international girls living or staying here?”

Valli must know the answer for he was a close friend of American socialite Lee Radziwill, who recently passed away. But he has never seemed like a designer fascinated by old money and high society.

“My idea of these girls is nothing nostalgic, no looking to the past or the future,” Valli said. “It ’s just the now. She’s very free. It’s more – can we say it? – the indiscreet charm of another kind of bourgeoisie.”

Valli was making fun of the current mood for sleek tailoring, straight-cut winter coats and solid shoes with his floral dresses and marabou fluff at the feet.

The designer said that the sweet beauty of Monet’s garden and the strange sexuality of Guy Bourdin’s photography were the source of his inspiration.

And all those lovely, young international young women sitting front row.