TILDA SWINTON: Tell me what this moment is like for you.
HAIDER ACKERMANN: You know what? I feel like I’m going through such a delicious phase of my life at the moment. It’s nice to feel desired—and I do feel desired work-wise but also privately. You know, we all want to be desired. So it feels very good.
SWINTON: I just feel this sense of satisfaction that what seemed so clear and inevitable to everyone around you for so long—that people would one day be open to your work—is finally taking place. You must feel very vindicated that there’s such a Haider-shaped space that you’re filling now for people beyond the few of us who’ve been invited into your world before.
ACKERMANN: You know, I really like to take the time to build things slowly and surely—to get more grounded. But it never felt for certain, like, “One day people will listen to me!” It was more like, “Perhaps I’ve got something to say.” So it feels fantastic. It’s good to take the time to think, to find, to search.
SWINTON: Let’s talk about time. You and I have discussed the idea of ultimate luxury before, and we have agreed that, for us, the ultimate luxury is time.
ACKERMANN: Yes. Because, especially, like now . . . Well, in terms of my work, the last collection was about the luxury of time and its relationship to the luxury of love and the luxury of living. It was also about my past, in a way—more elegant and more sophisticated. But to achieve those things, you need to have time. And when I say that, I’m not referring to things like the fabric or the sewing or the construction alone. It’s not about all of that. It’s more about a certain attitude that you take into your life—one where you take time to be loved, for instance. That’s why, perhaps, my most recent collection was less tormented. You know, today, everybody is always rushing. Designers have to make collections one after the other. Actresses have to make movies one after the other. They have to do all that in order to still be there—to still be out there. So to step away and be absent and to lose yourself completely and to really come back and find yourself again—that’s something quite rare.
SWINTON: Have you ever read a great essay by Robert Louis Stevenson called “An Apology for Idlers”?
ACKERMANN: No, tell me about it.
SWINTON: I’m going to send it to you. It’s a great piece of writing that advocates being idle. I don’t know exactly when I first discovered it. I mean, I’ve always been super-lazy myself—albeit in the kind of proper, dedicated way. But I remember when I first found this piece of writing, I felt that I was in good company—that Robert Louis Stevenson was advocating this sense of living according to one’s own internal rhythm and what I think corporate business might refer to as “wasting time.”