Evaluating Haider Ackermann’s fall collection was a bit like distinguishing between black and navy socks before sunrise and that first cup of coffee.

A crowd rushed into the dimly lit main salon of the Palais Galliera to inspect his intricate ensembles on a row of live models. Many guests gazed, glass of wine in hand, as if at the Mona Lisa. The dark is probably the natural habitat of the Ackermann customer, his slightly hunched posture probably due to lack of sleep and reading too much poetry, or Twitter.

Through gaps in the crowd, one could discern the usual styling wizardry: tasseled scarves swooping around the lapels of long, robe-like coats; languid shirts and muscle tanks tucked-but-not-quite into low-cut pants, this season hugging the legs down to vaguely Western crocodile boots.

The lights finally came up to reveal more: Velvet and leather mingling on sexy perfecto waistcoats; painterly mixes of neutrals and jewel tones on cadet hats, velvet blazers and slouchy cashmere sweaters; wide-wale corduroy for pants and mohair for animal print coats and jackets. The compositions were impressive, and full of character.

But some retailers and editors didn’t have the patience to jostle through the deep crowd. Another bemoaned: “This is like bad sex. It’s just unsatisfying.”

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