“I get the best ideas when I walk outside,” Albert Kriemler mused during a video call. “Also, for women, a walk is the most liberating thing right now.”
And so he walked the walk and made a stroll through St. Gallen, home to Akris since 1922, the central idea of his fall 2021 collection. It was a fine way to pay tribute to the picturesque and hilly Swiss city, whose concentration of embroidery workshop and couture fabric houses helped make Akris what it is today.
The theme also compelled Kriemler, who loves losing himself in artist collaborations, to double down on the functionality and practicality of his luxurious designs and ask himself what investment dressing looks like in 2021.
Well, it turns out “her next new jacket that lasts forever” might be a jeans jacket done up in dark double-faced cashmere. Kriemler dangled it in front of the camera to show off its luscious fabric, and also the only gown in the collection, in stretch tulle, light as a feather and as comfortable as a sweater, he said.
The “principle of layering,” a key consideration for a walk outdoors in cold weather, also guided Kriemler in his design process and heightened his awareness of what might be needed in a wardrobe. He offered an array of compelling and roomy coats, including a long puffer done the Akris way: in waterproof silk, with wool-based wadding trapped in trapezoid-shaped channels, and trimmings of luscious shearling. One coat in embroidered wool and silk comes layered over a solid black quilted coat, offering two wearing options.
Maps of St. Gallen figure as the main novelty print in the collection, all painstakingly engineered on stretch neoprene or silk and cashmere jersey so that the Akris atelier, in the same location since 1944, is in view.
Naturally, the collection film centers on a walk around town, and photographer Anton Corbijn had the luck to visit after a snowfall, which added a dreamy quality to his black-and-white footage of models treading a park path high above the city.
The film switches to color as the models doff their coats and find themselves at the city’s top attraction, the stunning medieval Abbey Library with its lavish Rococo decoration and rare manuscripts. Between his sophisticated clothes and the transporting venues, Kriemler has put St. Gallen on the map again.