Since a stint at Ruffo Research in 2002, Haider Ackermann has quietly been securing a spot on fashion’s radar, but the buzz on his own label has remained at a hum until now. Last month, the Colombian-born Frenchman beat out better known names such as Sophia Kokosalaki, Eley Kishimoto, Preen, and Cosmic Wonder to secure a 100K euros Swiss Textiles prize, handed out at the Gwand fashion festival in Switzerland.
What impressed those who’ve been tracking him is Ackermann’s mix of street-meets-polished sophistication. While his work still bares a moody Belgian-trained imprint (masculine tailoring, stark styling) that we’ve come to expect from Antwerp Royal Academy alums. For his award-winning collection, it was a mix of streetwise leathers, worked over jersey pieces, smocking, and a smattering of sequined details on skirts and dresses.
The Bless duo, Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag, has come a long way since their early designs of wigs made from fur, face jewelry made of fabric, and DIY customizable sneakers.
They still ignore the fashion cycle, opting to release three thematic limited edition collections per year — which doesn’t confine them to clothing as their recent innovative takes on accessories and furniture demonstrated. The brand has evolved to a point, where it continues to blur the lines between fashion and art, a hybrid style that is now commonplace. ANDAM awarded them the 10k euros price for their visionary roles as young designers.
Their latest collection is “The Bringer,” which in German speaks to a moment of spontaneous enthusiasm to describe a thing that is personally useful. And as with everything from Bless this concept comes with a twist, in this case, a traditional article of clothing, such as a jacket, a scarf, a hood or even shoes, is connected into a single detachable piece. Some of the pieces are beautified with artistic flourishes such as sari-style silhouettes and hand-knit frays. Special items like expander shoes and random concept clothing, like silk and leather scarf, round out some of the most creative innovations seen in their line.
Bless says their work is about “presenting ideal and artistic values of products to the public.” Simultaneously they’re synthesizing the
wearability of fashion and the expression of art (read on below for further details.)
-Jason Campbell and Kenneth Yu
Photos: Haider Ackermann spring 2005
Bless Spring 2005