CHICAGO — Akris designer Albert Kriemler said the recession forced the Swiss-based luxury brand to reexamine the way it does business, and compelled him to analyze how he approaches design.
“For sure, it has affected us deeply,” said Kriemler, who arrived here for the U.S. debut of his fall collection, which he showed last week at the Chicago Art Institute. “You really have to evolve. You have to be more competitive. Creativity is in high demand.”
The collection maintained Akris’ signature focus on luxe fabric and tailoring, but also made use of materials such as feathers or horsehair to decorate dresses, and featured a double-faced wool turtleneck dress accented with crystal beading.
Saying he felt an “enormous sensitivity to newness,” Kriemler rethought basics from the collection, noting he can no longer count on shoppers to buy staples.
“Not even a black suit sells in Chicago the way it should,” he said.
Kriemler presented options, including a three-piece suit with a vest-cum-bodysuit tucked into high-waisted flared trousers, some of which were tweed. “No one owns a tweed pair of pants,” he said.
The attention to newness appeared to resonate with the women who gathered for Kriemler’s personal appearance last Thursday at Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue. Many shoppers inquired about Akris’ leather jackets retailing for $4,000 to $4,500, along with Akris handbags, some of which are made with horsehair and start at $4,000.
Kriemler, who launched his first collection of handbags last year, conceded his timing was risky, given that 2009 was one of the company’s most difficult years. “I was hesitating for a long time,” said the designer, who was concerned about whether the market needed more luxury bags. But when there was an opportunity to develop accessories using horsehair, Akris jumped. “It’s different than anything out there,” Kriemler said.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)