Haider Hype

Haider Ackermann finally turns his hand to menswear at Pitti Uomo in Florence...

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Photo by Stephane Feugere
When the internet received news that Haider Ackermann would, after eight years of making women yearn for his seductive and challenging fantasies, turn his hand to menswear, too, a male poster on The Fashion Spot cried out: “The heavens have opened up and sent us a miracle.” Indeed, Ackermann’s no minor deity among worshippers of true old-fashioned fashion. His reputation as an independent thinker is unsoiled by fast-fashion collaborations or big label ambitions, and the only celebrity he bows to is film - not movie! - goddess, Tilda Swinton. Dazed sat down and spoke with fashion’s independent  in Toronto, where he sojourned for two days before first escaping to “get lost in the mountains for two weeks", then prepping for Pitti Uomo in Florence. He’ll show there June 16, guys. Miracles happen.

Dazed Digital: Many womenswear designers have begun designing for men, which is almost more interesting. So much has done for women, but for men, so much is left to do.
Haider Ackermann: There is so much you can’t do on a man. You don’t want your man to look too fashionable.

DD: Why not?
Haider Ackermann: Man is about attitude, about gesture. You don’t want him to be trendy or too much of anything.

DD: Same for women too, though.
Haider Ackermann: For women it’s different. There’s a sensuality I don’t see in men. It’s a new exercise which is difficult. But I enjoyed it. I’m always thinking, who is the man behind the woman I’m designing for? Who is the lover? Where is he coming from? What does he do?

DD: Of course, there are some women who can stand alone.
Haider Ackermann: Yes, there are. And that’s why I make them clothes, because they don’t have the arms around them.

DD: Did you think of that just now, or were you writing down one-liners on the plane here?
Haider Ackermann: Just now! I never prepare interviews.

DD: You’re obviously not a believer in androgyny, then, which is what you see a lot of designers doing now. Or they make basically the same thing in a version for men and for women.
Haider Ackermann: Yeah. No. I mean, my woman has always been attracted by men's clothes. A woman wearing a man’s clothes has a sensuality about it, when she wears a shirt or a blazer, you think like, where was she last night? Did she run away from her lover? Did she have to take his jacket? There’s always a story. I love the idea that she might have those lovers.

DD: And when a woman wears a man’s clothes, usually, it creates a space between body and clothes.
Haider Ackermann: Yes, it can be very sensual.

DD: The bodycon thing—yes, we love it, but it got so boring.
Haider Ackermann: It’s the same thing for men. In the 60s and 70s a lot of rockstars wore everything so tight. I mean, look at David Bowie, what he wore in the 60s and 70s. It was very feminine, but there was an elegance coming out of it. Still, it’s very—it was always very borderline.

DD: Do you have a certain man in mind? Do you design for yourself, then, when you’re designing menswear?
Haider Ackermann: No. And no, I don’t have a certain man in mind. Of course it’s a man who's not 16. My man had a life, whatever it is. He had a past. He’s been living, and he’s coming to peace now. But he had a highly coloured life. That’s how I’m imagining it.

DD: And you’re not talking about yourself. You’re sure?
Haider Ackermann:
[laughing] I can’t say.
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