From three sewing machines to the runways of Paris — it’s been quite a journey for the St. Gallen, Switzerland-based Kriemler family. On Sunday night, the house celebrated its 90th birthday with a 90-look fashion show and cocktail party peppered with speeches.
As Charlene, Princess of Monaco, looked on in a rust-colored Akris shift, Swiss politician Doris Leuthard lauded the Kriemlers for helping Switzerland gain renown for something other than cheese, chocolates, mountains and banks. “Akris is an ambassador for Switzerland throughout the world, an example of an extraordinary family business and team spirit,” she said, noting that the outfit Michelle Obama wore for President Obama’s inauguration featured Swiss textile wizardry.
Designer Albert Kriemler showcased that know-how with delicate “pebblestone” embroideries on sheer fabrics and offbeat shaggy textures that hemmed breezy dusters and pert miniskirts. Frequently inspired by architecture, Kriemler chose a garden theme for the anniversary outing, referencing the work of Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. “He’s the first one who broke up the straight line,” Kriemler explained backstage.
A lush stand of tropical plants served as the backdrop for looks that winked to adventure clothing, and used Marx’s curvaceous topography as a template for textures, photo prints and tailoring. It meandered from filmy sheath dresses to tuxedos to sporty parkas, working through a palette of mostly natural colors that climaxed, oddly, with fluorescent pink pantsuits with knee stripes.
The flared pants and snap-front suede skirts telegraphed a Seventies vibe, but that certainly wasn’t the intention of Kriemler, a devout modernist. “I want to design clothes for today’s women,” he said, flashing a big birthday smile.