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Haider Ackermann + FILA SS23 in Manchester
Courtesy of Fila

Mad for it: what went down at Haider Ackermann’s Manchester Fila show

The Colombian designer linked up with the Italian sportswear label on a new collab that got its surprising debut in the Northern city

New York, London, Milan, Paris… Manchester? The Northern city known for its mega music output and endless rain isn’t the first place to spring to mind when you think of a Haider Ackermann show, but that all changed on Thursday night when the Colombian designer landed at Mayfield Depot to debut his new collaborative collection with Italian sportswear legend Fila. Invite lost in the post? Missed the livestream of Dazed Fashion’s IG? You’re in luck. Here’s everything you need to know. 


Legendary Manc nightclub The Haçienda may have long gone out of business (depressing fact: it’s now a block of flats x), but the city’s legacy as a clubber’s paradise lives on through nights like Warehouse Project, which now calls a cavernous industrial space just opposite Piccadilly train station its home. Though Ackermann stuck a huge white catwalk slap bang in the centre of the main room, there was no zhuzhing of the space to make it more palatable for the fashion set. Massive tarpaulins were hung from the ceiling to catch the rain pouring through the roof and onto the concrete floor, with one buckling under the weight of the water and causing a downpour – thankfully by this point the show was over and no one had to head to the celebratory dinner looking like a drowned rat. Would be stunning to stand under it midway through a sweaty rave though, no? 


…including Chloe Grace Moretz and Andrew Garfield. While there was no sign of Ackermann’s usual gang, including Luca Guadagnino, Timotei Chalamet, or Tilda Swinton, her director daughter Honor Swinton Byrne did make an appearance. Salford legend Bernard Sumner of New Order also sat front row, and rounding things off was Negroni Sbagliato aficionado Emma D’Arcy, who showed up with a new hot pink crop.


The Manchester connection wasn’t immediately obvious when the invite to the show landed in inboxes, but Fila’s legacy has long been intertwined with Manchester culture. A staple of both the rave scene that sprung up in the late 80s and later, the Britpop movement that swept the city in the mid 90s, the iconic F logo has been popping up on dancefloors and football terraces for decades. For this collaborative collection, however, Ackermann didn’t really pay homage to that history so much as write his own new one.

Looks were slick and stripped back, comprising second-skin, hooded bodysuits, lightweight techy coats that billowed out behind the models as they walked and understated tracksuits rendered in faded neon hues. Much of the cast wore statement goggles, and the Fila Disruptor was nowhere to be seen, as Ackermann instead presented a streamlined sneaker/boot hybrid. The designer explained backstage he was thinking about hardcore BPMs, with the resulting offering seamlessly fusing clubwear and sportswear sensibilities. 


Post-show, attendees sat down at endless white tables strewn with candles for a dinner Ackermann flew in his fave Milanese chefs to cater. The took an interesting – and extremely fun – turn when the usual fashion party champs and canapés were swapped for legendary LGBTQ+ club strip Canal Street, as guests piled into G.A.Y for £5 doubles and BOGOF tequila shots. Cut to Honor Swinton Byrne and Ackermann shimmying onto the light-up dancefloor and going mental to the Vengaboys, and it made for quite a surreal fashion moment – and probably some pretty horrendous hangovers the morning after the night before.

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