Pitti Uomo: An Emotional Evening at the Haider Ackermann Show in Florence

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Truth be told, it’s not very often that I’m moved by a fashion show. I see a lot of them and, well, they’re fashion shows—sometimes inspiring, certainly, but not usually capable of evoking an emotional earthquake inside me. Such was the case Wednesday night at Haider Ackermann, where the designer premiered a new collection of menswear.

I don’t know if it was the entrancing, melancholic performance by model/musician Jamie Bochert (who took to the piano after opening the first look of the show) or the display of such incredible talent and craftsmanship in the clothing, but sitting in the grand courtyard of the Palazzo Corsini beneath a group of chandeliers rigged up to appear as though they were floating, I shed a few tears.

The clothing sure had a lot to do with it. It was of course dark, brooding, and cerebral (as one would expect from any Belgian trained designer) but the collection presented a strong undercurrent of optimism that came in the form of shiny embellishments and heavy embroidery. Scrappy, layered clothes that looked like they had been found all over the world, ancient and new, from the temples of Greece, the deserts of the Bedouin and the coolest concert halls of today. Draped, of course, in the most innovative of ways, which has become Ackermann’s signature.

I guess it just got me thinking about history, about connectedness and all these different hardships people have had to endure, and how, through all of it, there exists that common thread that hold us all together throughout time—the shiny embellishments that get us through it all and sometimes make us cry.