Akris walks the line
Albert Kriemler went back to his roots this season with a collection that celebrated his hometown of St. Gallen.
His brightest idea was a series of bold looks, based on an antique map of the Swiss city, and used in soft, elegant dresses in wool shelly, the thinnest of wools made of woven twisted yarn; or on jean jackets in denim; or T-shirts in cashmere and silk jersey.
Best of all a neoprene parka, worn with cashmere hoodie and ribbed cap, and ideal for a winter stroll, which is where Kriemler got the inspiration for this Fall/ Winter 2021 collection.
“For once, it’s the moment to speak of St. Gallen. When an activity like walking has a totally other meaning. I have the best ideas when walking. And for women to walk with a friend is the most relaxed moment. Right now, when so many people are trying to avoid metros and buses now, walking seems like real freedom,” smiled Kriemler, who often references fine artists in his fashion.
The designer even discovered on the map the old brick atelier his grandmother bought in 1944 that he still uses to develop fabrics. Founded in 1922, Akris is today Switzerland’s most influential fashion marque.
Like last season, he called on the indie Dutch filmmaker Anton Corbijn to shoot his show video, opening with a black and white film of St. Gallen blanketed in over a meter of snow – hints of Bruegel’s Hunters in the Snow. Capturing the cast on a promenade on the hills above the city, built on the site of the hermitage of the Irish missionary Gallus.
Corbijn also shot in the truly ancient Abbey Library, granted the privilege by UNESCO to shoot among a book collection dating back to 8th century bibles.
An Akris show-in-a-box mailed to VIP clients and senior editors included a series of swatches, helping to explain the pure embroidered St. Gallen guipure, with the house logo subtly hidden in some fabrics.
Though this collection was also all about investment dressing – like the 800-gram pure cashmere used in a long double-breasted coat finished nipped at the waist by a trapezoid buckle; or the lightest parka of silk twill and wool fleece that still was completely windproof.
Albert also played with the house’s 1986 logo, which links the five letters of the brand with stitches. And even found felt wool fabrics that mimicked the punch card wiring formerly used in Akris embroidery to create some wonderful cabans and boleros.
“No architects or artists, just St. Gallen. To show where we have been for last 98 years. And how very proud we are of this city and our embroiderers who supply all the great houses of Paris and Milan,” the designer concluded, in a Zoom from his studio.
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