NEW YORK — Shopping for luxury goods has long been a tactile experience.
And for Albert Kriemler, designer and owner of the Swiss fashion house Akris, creating a New York flagship that reflected a sensuous aesthetic was key. As a man who prefers to sketch with a piece of fabric in hand, the designer was intent on having shoppers “feel” the space.
“Opening a store in New York has been a big dream of mine for the last 20 years,” said Kriemler. “The idea was to have it be modern and warm. It should feel more like a home.”
The store, located at 835 Madison Avenue, opens today. The 4,000-square-foot space, designed by German architect Christoph Sattler, is infused with European elements such as blonde maple wood from Switzerland, limestone for the floors imported from a quarry in Spain and hand-applied Venetian plastered white walls.
The multilevel store is an exercise in modernity with muted tones, steel fixtures and chocolate-colored, modular leather chairs. The natural light provided by the original windows in the back of the space casts a domestic feel to the store. Yet Kriemler’s taste for the tactile is evident in the seamless beige wool carpet, a bone-colored leather covered wall, as well as black horsehair panels.
“It’s definitely more unusual than other shop concepts, but I felt very strongly that our stores have to have their own identity,” said Kriemler.
Curved walls were an important element in the space as well. Kriemler is an advocate of these kidney shaped niches in order to “to give a rectangular space a more human feel. It’s very important that there is a flow and a feeling in the stores.”
Although this is not Akris’ first foray into the American retail scene — it has a store in Boston and sells the label at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman — the prominence of a Madison Avenue storefront certainly marks a major step in the company’s growth.
“It’s really important for us to open in New York because it exposes us to the public on a daily basis. Our collection and brand will be much more visible to people,” said Kriemler.The family-owned company, which was founded in 1922, is now run by the third generation — Albert and his brother Peter, who is the chief executive officer. While they declined to give volume figures, the Kriemlers are projecting first-year store sales of approximately $6 million.
Retail prices range from $500 to $800 for Akris daywear pieces, like tops and pants; $3,000 for suits, and $4,000 to $12,000 for evening pieces. Prices for Akris Punto, the lower-priced sportswear collection, range from $600 to $1,200 for jackets; $300 to $450 for tops and pants, and $200 to $900 for knits.
The company’s business is currently 80 percent wholesale and 20 percent retail. Despite having two freestanding boutiques in the U.S., the Kriemlers are focused on building up Akris shop-in-shops with their retailers like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as with Canadian retailer Holt Renfrew.
Other Akris boutiques are located in Boston, Paris, Monte Carlo, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Seoul, Tokyo and Vienna. The Kriemlers plan to open additional stores in London, Munich, Hamburg, the Netherlands, Amsterdam and Brussels; as well as Asian locales like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)