Men of All Seasons: Gaultier and Ackermann



The invitation to Jean Paul Gaultier’s show said it all: a map of France with a host of exotic countries (Russia, Mali, Mexico, Ouzbekistan, India, China…) labeled in the places of Paris, Brittany, Alsace and Provence. Gaultier’s a man who does what he says, and the show followed suit. The very French sailor caban jacket was morphed with an ethnic striped yoke; a Chinese cheongsam embroidered satin dress came topped by a black and white hound’s tooth wrap à l’avenue Montaigne. Sweeping trench coats with mini fronts and long backs were paired with metallic pastel leggings and Norwegian knit over-the-knee socks; a techno-ethnic melange.   The result was an upbeat gypsy way of dressing and a face off between masculine tailored jackets over feminine peasant skirts.
Like so many shows this season, Ackermann’s began with one of those throbbing soundtracks like your heartbeat has been turned into music and put over the loud speaker. Beginning with shades of brown, he put leather skirts over matching skinny leather pants that creeped over the tops of the shoes.  It was an exaggeratedly covered-up look, mimicking many young girls on the streets these days who attract the eye because they reveal nothing. But Ackermann is a sensual man: His jackets are cut to fit curves, his knits cling and he makes some of the most beautiful skin-bearing rags around. His tour de force this season was muddy lace; lacy cutout leather for a nearly nude tank dress with bustle.