All hail the power of pigment! “Color is everything to me, this season more than ever before,” said Albert Kriemler, who found not only solace in color amid the pandemic, but pure joy in his collaboration on the spring Akris collection with German artist Imi Knoebel.
“He doesn’t just paint with paint,” Kriemler explained excitedly. “He develops all the colors himself.”
Likewise, Kriemler doesn’t just design clothes with fabrics at hand: he develops yarns, weaves, colors and embroideries with all the savoir-faire at his fingertips in St. Gallen, Switzerland — home to Akris, and a clutch of haute embroidery and fabric houses.
Obsessed with the Düsseldorf-based artist’s extension to his Raum 19 sculpture — a colossal phosphorescent block — the designer worked with textile houses to develop a silk knit, double-face pinstripes, sequins and a techno cotton with the same light-absorbing qualities. The latter fabric, employed for a parka and jogging pants, is a pale celery green by day, and an eerie glowing Kelly green by night.
The vivid bars of colors and smudgy backdrops of Knoebel’s large-scale abstract works are faithfully interpreted in a short and flowing caftan dresses, blouses and a sheath dress. Prints are very personal, and these are for bold women. Kriemler also incorporated the artist’s Kinderstern work — a star-like shape that is considered a social sculpture that raises money for children — as offbeat buttons and embroideries that would certainly be conversation starters.
Kriemler has been collaborating with artists for at least a decade, and garments and accessories bearing their work are never put on sale “because they keep their value.” Indeed, this aspect adds another layer to Akris, prized for exceptional double-face tailoring that was already considered a pinnacle of investment dressing.
The designer sheepishly confessed that black and white are probably his best-selling colors, and he’s got plenty of sleek dresses, culottes, featherweight coats and jackets in neutral shades.
“If clothes are not self evident, if they are complicated to look at and put on, they already lose their modernity,” he mused, echoing the sentiment of Knoebel, who described himself to Kriemler as a painter and craftsman rather than an artist. His motto: “When it goes on the wall, it’s self-evident.”
In lieu of a Paris runway show, Kriemler conscripted photographer Anton Corbijn, who has taken famous portraits of Knoebel, to create a video for the collection. It was as direct as Kriemler’s clothes and Knoebel’s art. Three models moved about sculptural objects, awash in colorful lights — and occasionally glowing in the dark.