The Omicron wave that engulfed Switzerland around and after the holidays convinced Albert Kriemler to make one more fashion film in St. Gallen before returning to the Paris runway.
In a delightful case of serendipity, a magnificent new extension to the city’s university is constructed out of modular squares, the key motif in his fall Akris collection, informing the patterns for skirts, the shape of sweaters, the embroideries and prints. Kriemler and his crew gained access to the striking building by architect Sou Fujimoto immediately after it was inaugurated, and just before classes started.
The designer typically gets inspired by an artist and was gobsmacked how Reinhard Voigt’s pixellated paintings from the ’60s and ’70s foreshadowed our obsession with digital devices and screens. He faithfully reproduced one work of a woman’s pixellated face on sweaters and a long, sleeveless dress with a pleated skirt.
His models — looking more like wealthy collectors or university board members than students — paraded through the airy campus, its grid of concrete pillars sparked with colors closely resembling Voigt’s work.
During a showroom preview, Kriemler said Akris devotees collect his art-inspired pieces, and he’s convinced that such creative back stories will fuel fashion purchases in the post-pandemic era. “It’s not just to get new clothes,” he said.
Fabric innovation is another driver, and what Akris uses typically melts in your hand. Even lightweight, stretch Neoprene — cut into sleek pantsuits with a subtle ’70s flare, or a parka in loud, pixellated blocks of color — felt like silk.