Haider Ackermann Fall 2011 Review

Haider Ackermann Fall 2011 runway

Photos: Imaxtree

Looks from the Haider Ackermann Fall 2011 collection

SHOW: Haider Ackermann (See the full runway collection)

ACCESSORIES: Zippered gauntlets, crocodile waist belts, ankle boots, and elongated bouffant hairdos on top

OVERALL TAKEAWAY: This man is going places—but will it be Dior or Givenchy?

The buzz around the Haider Ackermann Fall 2011 show was electric before it had even begun—fueled in no small part by rumors that it was to be his last. The house of Dior, or possibly Givenchy, is potentially in the offing, hence all eyes fell on Ackermann.

The bar was set high, thanks to previously well-received collections and Ackermann's status as the industry-insider's designer. (Karl Lagerfeld said last November that Ackermann should replace him at Chanel.) But Ackermann surpassed expectations.

Played out to the spoken-word soundtrack of Leonard Cohen's "A Thousand Kisses Deep" (rather intense for a 10:30 a.m. show), Ackermann sent out just what he does best: sinuous, sensual lines, elegant detailing, swaths of fabric, and the most consummate, cloisonné color palette of the entire week. Jade green mixed with sapphire and deep emerald, pink tourmaline with tomato, and touches of taupe, all executed in exquisite folds of iridescent silk catching the light.

Ackermann's choice in everything from staging to design, even up to those attenuated beehives that topped the models' heads— which at first looked alien but by the end were the perfect crowning glory—was spot-on. Evidently he knew the entire world (well, the entire fashion world, at least) would be watching this performance, and his success was unquestionable and unabashed. A standing ovation must be the sweetest sight to a designer's eyes. In this show, Ackermann actually got two. Astonishing.