Fashion Under a Sullen Sky

Photo
Haider Ackermann used the courtyard of the Palais Galleria, the city of Paris's fashion museum, for his spring 2017 men's show. Credit Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times

PARIS — The rain began around 8 p.m., as crowds massed in a furious bottleneck at the entrance to the Palais Galliera for Haider Ackermann's show. The attendees were not pleased. The sky was a moody, Haider Ackermann gray, dense and melancholic, which might have suited Mr. Ackermann, the dense and melancholic Colombian-born designer, were it not the evening of his men's show, held in the courtyard of the Paris fashion museum.

Guests were beckoned inside in twos and threes, to huddle behind the balustrades of the covered arcade, sipping chilled white wine and looking doubtfully at their tarp-coveted seats in the open air. From the backstage entrance, Mr. Ackermann peered through his round glasses, no less perturbed.

By 20 minutes after the hour, the drizzle had tapered off and the show could begin. The models slouched their circular course in a parrot-feather palette of pink, purple, orange and green — some in low-slung, droopy trousers; some in higher, tighter pants, their blotchily patterned shirts and scarves hanging loosely about them. The few female models interspersed among them wore mostly black. For Mr. Ackermann, the male wears the radiant plumage.

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Michael Chabon and his son Abe, 13, at the Haider Ackermann spring show. Credit Matthew Schneier/The New York Times

It was an exuberant, over-the-top collection, and all the stronger for its fabulous intensity, with the flashing spotlights and grinding music of a disco alfresco. In the front row, Abe Chabon, 13, pronounced it a hit.

"It was incredible," he said.

Abe was attending his first fashion shows in Paris in the company of his father, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon. Abe is a dedicated follower of fashion — he saves chore wages and his recent bar mitzvah money to buy clothes, and attended the show wearing Raf Simons, Acne Studios and Gosha Rubchinskiy. Mr. Chabon, who confessed no more than a passing interest in fashion, had pitched to GQ the idea of writing about a fathe r-son fashion week trip, the better to understand his son's fascination.

"Little Hypebeast, that's his nickname," Mr. Chabon said. "I compare it to — remember that movie 'Little Buddha' with Keanu Reeves?" In that film, a clutch of Tibetan monks show up on the doorstep of an ordinary American couple, convinced their young son is a reincarnated lama.

Men's Spring 2017 Fashion

Mr. Chabon was wearing a pair of Margiela boots that his son had insisted upon — not Abe, but his brother. "We spent like an hour convincing him," Abe said. "I wanted him to get YSL boots and my brother was like, 'No, you need to get these!' My brother won."

The model Luka Sabbat, another front row attendee, wandered over, and the two exchanged reviews. Both plan to attend more shows in the coming days.

Backstage, Mr. Ackermann was slowly processing a line of well-wishers who were lined up in a bottleneck after the show as bad as the one they had been in before it.

The collection had been inspired, he said, by the young guys around him, carefree hedonists for whom partying is a calling and a duty. "They dance in the club and they sweat and they enjoy," Mr. Ackermann said. "I just wanted to have all this happiness, all this embrace of joy."

The blotchy prints that might have been maps or ink blots suddenly came into focus: They were sweat stains, imaginatively transformed.

The joy Mr. Ackermann channeled was, he agreed, all the more valuable in uncertain, unhappy days like these. "Very true, very true," he said. "It's colorful. It's so poetic against this melancholic sky."

He paused for a moment.

"I would have loved to have it raining," he said with a glance upward.

"Not on you," he added quickly, looking back at the long line of journalists and guests who had come from the outdoor seating to congratulate him. "Raining on all the guys."

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