Numéro: You’ll be pleased to know that I haven’t actually planned this interview, so I’ll spare you all those ignominious questions that I could have asked you.
Haider Ackermann : [Laughs]
So, what do you want to talk about?
At this time of the day, not much.
Yes, by the way, why this morning rendezvous on the avenue Trudaine? Are you detoxing and only drinking green tea now? Or have you just left an afterparty at Mec Zone [a gay club located near the meeting point]?
[Laughs] You’re outrageous! Next question. Contrary to what you suspect, I love mornings, I love getting up very early.
Yes really! I get up, I read the papers…
… Admit it, you want to do Pilates, you’re literally running to the gym!
Sometimes. But what I like best is walking through the deserted streets at dawn, enjoying these delicious moments, these precious instants.
So, how come you’ve got the body of a goddess and you’re not always down the gym?
Must I remind you I have good genes… they’reColombian.
You’re part of a very closed club of sexy designers. Are you not beset by hoards of yapping bloggers the moment you step outside?
Absolutely not. I don’t think I’m part of this famous club you allude to. Designers from the new generation are much prettier than me.
“The Instagram phenomena is incredibly dull, especially when people take it all too seriously. But what is really worrying is that today, in order to be respected, a designer needs mega numbers on Instagram.”
So, what do you do to have so many followers on Instagram?
What do you think? I don’t have that many, hardly any really, no, I really don’t have that many! If you follow me on Instagram you should know that already. And if you take a look at accounts belonging to my colleagues, you’ll see that in terms of subscribers, I’m nowhere near them.
What do you think about the Instagram phenomena?
It’s incredibly dull, especially when people take it all too seriously. But what’s really worrying is that today, in order to be respected, a designer needs mega numbers on Instagram.
I was strongly advised to use this interview to talk to you about your last collection…
You were there, weren’t you?
No, I’d gone out the night before.
[Laughs.] You’re terrible!
Why did you decide to show your men’s and women’s collections at the same time? Is it because of financial concerns, and doing one show per season instead of two reduces the costs?
I have always wanted to show men’s and women’s wear in the same runway show, ever since I launched the brand in 2001. But it just so happens that, up until recently, some people – I won’t name names – weren’t in agreement. Personally, I really like this exchange, this moment of sharing between men and women. They experience a love story, they lend and borrow each other’s clothing, it’s as simple as that. There’s no financial calculations involved.
This blurring of the boundaries between the male-female archetypes has always been an integral part of your brand’s DNA, in the same way as the casual architecture of your silhouettes and your sharp eye for colour, which for some people puts you in line of the master Yves Saint Laurent…
Enough! [Laughs] You're too much. In my eyes, the men’s suit serves to exacerbate the femininity of women.
What is your starting point when you draw a collection?
Music. For the last show, for example, I was inspired by the track I’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen. Which was good because in the room, there was indeed someone to whom this message was addressed.
Can we know who? And please don’t say Tilda Swinton.
No. In the audience, there was someone who really means a lot to me and I wanted to convey this message of love that was the collection.
And this love, how long has it been going on for, are we allowed to know?
Since last night at the Mec Zone! [Laughs.] I’m joking.
“Music is my starting point when I design a collection. For the last show, for example, I was inspired by the track I’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen. Which was good because in the room, there was indeed someone to whom this message was addressed.”
Is love important to you? Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve always been in a couple… and not always the same one.
I come to life when I’m in love. For me it’s the moment when everything makes sense. I fear getting lost in solitude – as beautiful as it is.
Does your brand belong to the Belgian financier Anne Chapelle?
My brand doesn’t belong to her, no, she has her name on my licence…
What’s the difference?
I keep my name, I am still the owner of my name.
LVMH, Kering, Richemont… over the seventeen years of your career, which luxury groups have come knocking on your door hoping to buy up your brand?
What’s missing in your life? You have already have love, glory and beauty?
The comfort of work. When you’re a small house like ours, you do everything yourself and you really do work like a little soldier. That said, recently I had an amazing professional experience [as artistic director of Berluti, from September 2016 to March 2018] with more means and more comfort. That allowed me to blossom in my work and to better convey my creative discourse to the public.
“I come to life when I’m in love. For me, it’s the moment when everything makes sense. I fear getting lost in solitude.”
What questions most annoy you in an interview?
Anything to do with my childhood and the fact I was adopted. It’s such a private subject, so sensitive for my family and I that for me it’s obvious I wouldn’t want to talk about it in the press.
And your seasonal inspirations, doesn’t that always get on your nerves?
Yes. In fact, you just did it yourself.
So, in short, you’re not going to tell us anything else about your most recent boyfriend?
Are you coming to my wedding on December 15th?
Of course. Every declaration of love is beautiful, even coming from you.