WWD’s recent spate of dishy designer interviews continues this morning with a Q & A with Haider Ackermann. Ackermann, who has been doing the rounds at Saks stores here in the US, revealed his humble beginnings, his insecurities, and some thoughts about Galliano and Dior.
On his past: He’s not Belgian; he was born in Colombia and adopted by French parents. And while he attended three years at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, he never graduated. He also once cleaned toilets in Antwerp to make money.
On his internship at John Galliano: “It was the best study ever. You know, at the time, I had no money, nowhere to stay, so I was sleeping on the street and going every day to work.”
On Galliano the man: “I remember a sense of humor...I cannot talk about it though, because it was so sarcastic and it’s bad to talk about this now. Due to all the respect I have for Mr. Galliano, I prefer not to mention his name. It’s not healthy to talk about a company who suffers and a designer who suffers.”
On turning down design jobs: He confirmed that he turned down nine contract offers, but he won’t say with what houses or labels.
On the Dior rumors: “Let the rumors talk. But I would, at a certain point, accept a house which might fit me and which I would feel comfortable with--but there are not many.” At this point he turned coy and wouldn’t admit at which house he would love to work.
On celebs: “I’m really sorry, I’m going to sound so rude, but some of those girls don’t do anything...but then all those young girls, they might have done one movie and just because they’re pretty, they’re out there. I believe we’re spoiling those girls’ careers. We throw them out there, in their first role, they get all the hype--but then we’re searching for the next new thing.”
On celebrity designers: He describes Victoria Beckham’s collection as “chapeau.” Which means “fantastic.”
On building his brand: He would love to make jewelry and would do a woody fragrance in a heavy crystal bottle.
On Tilda Swinton: They met doing karaoke in Paris. His favorite karoke songs? “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong.”
Haider Ackermann seems like a fascinating, somewhat tortured artist, and we’re looking forward to seeing him grow and evolve.