MANCHESTER, England — Where Haider Ackermann goes, his friends will follow.
The French-Colombian designer hosted a one-off show with Italian sportswear brand Fila in Manchester, England.
The unexpected collection announced in September included womenswear, menswear and accessories and is part of Fila’s mission to transform its image by aligning with high fashion brands. In February, Fila collaborated with Roksanda Ilinčić for her London Fashion Week Fall 2022 show.
Per Ackermann, who presents collections from her eponymous label at Paris Fashion Week and regularly mingles with stars like Timothée Chalamet and Tilda Swinton, said yes to working with Fila due to her craving for “electricity,” she explained backstage at The Warehouse Project, a venue synonymous with the city’s rave scene.
Behind the scenes, there was the calm before the rainbow. There was no hustle and bustle of a normal fashion show—this was Ackermann’s time—and backstage he was strolling around waving to models in his white sweater and jeans and looking at his surroundings.
“I needed some energy and speed after some silence. So, I was happy to be back on track, to stay straight and move forward,” said Ackermann.
He transformed the industrial warehouse into an aquarium: his models walked the long, wide, white catwalk, with some in pairs and groups.
For the finale, the models stepped out in a colorful, out-of-sync herd, wearing monochromatic hoodies alongside candy-store pastel tailoring and neon performance anoraks and leotards.
It was a sporty, aquatic world that underlined the current zeitgeist.
“We look at the streets, it’s about sportswear, it’s not something unknown to us, we all do it,” said Ackermann, in his soft but confident voice.
“I wanted to embrace the youth and I wanted to embrace the energy. We’ve been going through some dark times lately so it’s nice to bring all this happiness and joy and a life that embraces and that’s what I wanted to do. And this [is] what the kids are doing, they’re trampling the barricade,” he added.
Ackermann’s star stall, all dressed in his models, sat on the right side of the runway and included Emma D’Arcy, Andrew Garfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Manu Rios, Krystal Jung, Mahmood and Byeon Woo-seok.
“I am lying down. I’m in my living room and things are brewing, trying to get a few shorts before I head back to Westeros in the new year,” said D’Arcy, star of HBO’s “House of the Dragon,” dressed in an Ackerman-like ensemble.
“You are slowly preparing your body for another transition. I find the transition difficult, but I don’t mind getting to either destination,” added D’Arcy.
South Korean actor and model Woo-seok had fans from all over the country come to catch a glimpse of him and introduced himself to cheering fans.
“I really loved the show, especially the use of the color green,” said Woo-seok, who was the most photographed man inside the venue.
He revealed that he’s in the process of wrapping up a Netflix drama that hasn’t been titled yet. “He’s a very nice character,” Woo-seok hinted.
Another Netflix star at the show was Spanish actor Rios of ‘Elite’ fame. “There’s a new season of ‘Elite’ tomorrow, it’s season six,” he said.
Rios has become a Netflix golden boy as he prepares to star in another series alongside his ‘Elite’ castmate Aron Piper in ‘El Silencio’.
His most anticipated project is his short film debut with critically acclaimed director Pedro Almodóvar in “Strange Way of Life,” starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal. Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello is associate producer and costume designer on the short film.
“It’s like my dream come true and I don’t know when it will come out but I hope soon,” said Rios.
After the show, Ackermann sat down among 150 friends for a candlelit dinner. Then, he brought the guests in GAY Manchester, a nightclub that started in London in 1976. She danced with peers and lip-synched Whitney Houston with Moretz and Rios.
“The person I love, that’s my happiness,” Ackerman said.