Haider Ackermann: The new Karl Lagerfeld?

Karl Lagerfeld named Haider Ackermaan as the guy he’d like to succeed him at Chanel.

‘‘I don’t know what his purpose was, but I think it was to say, ‘Guys, perhaps you should have a look at this dude,”?Haider Ackermann says. “It was a way to put me out there. At least that’s how I like to see it.”

He’s talking about the moment he went from being a cult favorite of Tilda Swinton and a host of fashion and art world insiders to an outright media sensation. It was the fall of 2010 and the pertinent events unfolded like this: In an interview with Numéro magazine, Karl Lagerfeld named Haider Ackermann as the guy he’d like to succeed him at Chanel. Days of retweets and months of “Who is Haider Ackermann?” blog coverage ensued, followed by a pivotal bombshell runway show in March 2011 that literally moved editors to tears. Then came an American Vogue cover, a big story in Newsweek and a slew of gushing magazine articles in which journalists wrote about him with highly poetic language. They called him The New Romantic. His role as the fashion world’s new crown prince was sealed. It’s a high that Ackermann is still floating on.

“Certain things happen and you realize just how much power a single person can have. To have people you’ve admired your whole life notice you,” he says, trailing off. There is a smile in his voice, which is a surprise because at first glance, Ackermann appears to be a very serious, brooding, enigmatic man.

His clothes reveal a similar mysteriousness and intelligence. This isn’t fashion for the Kardashians of the world. He’s more revered by the most ardent, hard-core fashion lovers. “I’m not so much attracted to the woman who wants to be the center of attention. She’s not my kind of person. It’s violent how people put themselves out there on reality TV, leaving nothing to imagine or question,” he says.

His silk skirts, dresses and jackets wrap around the body like sinuous bands of smoke (there’s that poetic language again) and his flair for rich, jewel and desert tones conjures up images of moody vistas in places like Morocco, Ethiopia or India. Ackermann calls it “drawing up his past.”

Born in Columbia, he was raised by French parents in various parts of Africa and Europe. “The first thing I was drawn to as a kid in Africa was the idea of one piece of fabric that women would wrap around themselves. The fabric was always blowing in the wind and you’d see these women running through the medina like ghosts. It touched me. And ever since, a wardrobe has only ever been interesting to me when it’s moving,” he says. Lately, though, he’s been looking back much less. “You can only draw what you are made of. But now that so many things are happening, I’m looking much more toward my future in my work,” he admits, alluding to the near constant state of buzzing excitement around him.

He gets particularly animated when remembering a meeting he had with his hero, Martin Margiela, one of the fashion world’s most recondite and revered talents. “He wanted to meet me,” Ackermann says incredulously. “I used to have all these doubts and insecurities in my head. But if this man could take me seriously, I had to face it and take myself seriously.”

Ackermann is quick to dismiss any notion that he might be an overnight hit, though. “I’ve never been attracted to the person of the moment. The idea of being a passing moment always kind of scared me. I showed my first collection in 2003 and could not have gotten to this place without all of the building I did before.”

The backstory

Background:
After graduating from high school in the Netherlands, Ackermann studied at Antwerp’s prestigious The Academy of Fine Arts.

The line: Ackermann launched his eponymous line after leaving fashion school and completing an internship for John Galliano.

The look: Mannish tailoring meets seductive, body-skimming silhouettes.

The women: Tilda Swinton is Ackermann’s most loyal fan. But his legions of famous followers also include Penelope Cruz and Janet Jackson.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Bike-sharing is in Philadelphia's future

The B-Cycle bike that Philadelphia will use is already part of bike-sharing services across the nation and in Santiago, Chile.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

Movies

Interview: 'The Quiet Ones' star Sam Claflin on…

"Hunger Games" co-star Sam Claflin talks about his new horror film "The Quiet Ones," plus how technology connects him with fans.

Going Out

Spend an evening in Franklin Square

Support historic Franklin Square on May 15 during the sixth annual Evening in Franklin Square soiree. The evening includes dinner, dancing, a silent auction and…

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.