Akris just wrapped its year-long 100th anniversary celebrations, and the tentpole exhibition about the St. Gallen-based fashion brand at Switzerland’s top design museum, the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich, clocked nearly 27,000 visitors, a new record, before it closed on Sept. 24.
The display focused on Albert Kriemler‘s creative process and particularly the last 15 years, when artistic collaborations and technical wizardry came to the fore.
The designer has proven that he has prescient visual instincts. For example, he shined a spotlight on Reinhard Voigt’s pixelized oil paintings from the ’60s and ’70s, and incorporated them into his fall 2022 designs, long before the motif appeared in Loewe and Louis Vuitton collections.
“It’s pure feeling, honestly,” the modest Kriemler said during a preview of his spring 2024 lineup, when asked how he selects the artists that inspire him.
For spring, he settled on Felice “Lizzi” Rix-Ueno, having seen an exhibition dedicated to the late textile, wallpaper and craft designer at the MAK Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna.
Kriemler explained that this key member of the Wiener Werkstätte, or Vienna Workshop, movement also spent much of her career in Japan and is prized for colorful, vibrant and charming designs — like the poppy, fruit, bird and tassel motifs that peppered the Akris collection.
The designer was also inspired by Rix-Ueno’s belief that “through craft, you can develop your fantasy.”
Behind Kriemler’s often simple designs lies an intensive study of fine fabric, whether it’s stiff organza for weightless tailoring, high-twist linen for wrinkle-resistant shirt jackets that look like faded denim, or a gorgeous cotton voile for draped shirts.
The collection added more fuel to the utility chic trend and the floral motifs all over the Paris runways, but done in the refined, restrained Akris way.
This was a polished, chic and sprightly show, with live music and a set of fabric flowers. Fantasy came in the form of red cotton guipure resembling pressed poppies and minimalist evening looks with long, glistening fringe.
Akris enters its second century on a strong note.