Haider Ackermann Named Creative Director of Berluti
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In a move that underscores both the upheaval in the men’s wear world and the new equality of the sexes in fashion, Berluti, the anchor men’s wear label in the LVMH stable, announced on Thursday that it had named Haider Ackermann, a designer known largely for the edgy high romance of his namesake women’s line, as creative director.
“I am sure that his vision will bring a unique opportunity to Berluti,” said Antoine Arnault, the company’s chief executive, in announcing the news.
Though Mr. Ackermann, who is in his 40s (he will not give his age), also has a men’s wear line, it was introduced in only 2013, 10 years after the women’s line. And though he has been a rumored contender for many big-brand job openings over the years, including Maison Martin Margiela back when Mr. Margiela was involved, and Dior, it was never in the context of men’s wear.
“It just felt right,” Mr. Ackermann said. “Like having a new lover. Men’s is a very interesting world nowadays because the customer wants more of an individual identity. But he also wants timeless, so you are always balancing on that line.”
Berluti, originally founded as an upscale men’s show brand in 1895 and run by four generations of the Berluti family, was acquired by LVMH in 1993, and the younger Mr. Arnault (whom Mr. Ackermann now calls “my partner in crime”) took over as chief executive in 2011 with the mission to develop it into a full men’s wear brand.
“I don’t want to make men beautiful or handsome,” he said. “I want to create attitude.”
He will continue to run his own women’s and men’s lines concurrently with his job at Berluti (LVMH has not invested in his company), which involves not only the full product design, including sporting accessories, but also ad campaigns, image and stores.
“Hell, yeah,” he said when asked if he would be in charge of all creative aspects. “‘I’ve been dreaming of it all summer.”
Mr. Ackermann said he is not worried about the juggling act demanded by designing two labels. Indeed, he said, one of the reasons he signed on to a men’s wear label rather than a women’s label was that men’s wear, which has only two seasons as opposed to four or six, is a relatively more manageable commitment. Nor is he worried about the problems of duplicating aesthetics.
Berluti is, he said in something of an understatement, “quite expensive. To be able to afford that, one needs to make a living, and that means one has achieved a certain level of success.” And, probably, reached a certain life stage. The Haider Ackermann man, he said, is “more of a daydreamer.”
“I don’t think anyone will be surprised by me being there after the show,” he said. The truth of his words will be revealed in January 2017 during the Paris men’s wear season.