“Akris clothes are designed to be worn,” stated Albert Kriemler today, as he talked The Impression team through his latest collection for Fall. This sounds like a fairly obvious thing for a fashion designer to express; however, as a model stepped out wearing an asymmetric black neoprene dress, it turned from ‘special’ on the hanger to ‘sublime’ on the body. My team and I let out a collective, “Wow.”
“Wow” is the kind of effect only 100 years of craftsmanship can achieve. The family-run label hit’s a milestone birthday this year and has aged impeccably.
There’s a lot of shouting and sass going on in fashion right now; a race for the brightest color, the most statement-making sleeve, the sexiest skin-baring sheer. Not Akris. This is a brand for whom simplicity is key. Kriemler is like a mathematician at play, renowned for working with clean lines and geometric shapes. The hemline of that ‘wow’-worthy dress was constructed from just two squares sewn together to fall just so.
This same application informed the shape of skirts and the cut-out of an open shoulder cashmere sweater, more abstractly the lines of one of the most exquisite buttery Nappa leather shirt dresses with serene lines informing its cut. A hero piece.
Squares were a central motif throughout. Fans of Akris will know this is a brand deeply rooted in art and architecture, which has long informed their aesthetic. This season was inspired by the work of Reinhard Voigt, an artist ahead of his time, whose work to a modern gaze reads as digital pixels, but of the time was one of the pioneers of this abstract style of image-making. His portrait triptych from 1976/77, Drei Teile, informed wonderful bold pattern and color play across elegant evening dresses, timeless tailoring and cozy outerwear. They were lively, sensuous, and a true trompe l’oeil moment.
Still on a digital schedule, for now, this season’s film location complimented the collection’s geometrical ethos. Designed by architect Sou Fujimoto, SQUARE at the University of St Gallen’s structure is guided by the idea of a grid, where the walls can be moved and interacted with at ease. “The flexibility in the grid is what unites us all,” explained Kriemler. Three great minds did think.
The brand is hoping to move back to the runway next season. As much as these clothes are “designed to be worn”, they’re also designed to be seen in person. Their materials are exquisite and details impeccably considered, with every element of their collections thoughtful and thought-provoking in turn. They’ll be a much welcome return.