AKRIS shines at the Grand Palais
I am a true AKRIS fan! My husband and I had the privilege to be on first row (in the photo above right I am wearing an AKRIS tuxedo) at their Fall/Winter fashion show in the prestigious Grand Palais in Paris a few days ago, invited by the director of their Monaco boutique. The theme was “Shine Bright and Be a Star” and I dare say it was one of Swiss designer Albert Kriemler’s most compelling shows to date!
Kriemler is a passionate art lover, and some of the details of the 40 beautifully designed pieces in this collection were inspired by the works of German photographer Thomas Ruff exhibited in Munich’s Haus der Kunst back in 2012. The eminent photographer had been pleasantly surprised when the designer suggested an impactful collaboration. Ruff was quoted saying that Kriemler “has a unique talent to select the perfect fabrics using innovative cutting techniques”. The designer said he used seven of the photographer’s images, mostly related to the universe and galaxy we live in and two ingenious photograms, and reproduced them across several of the looks in the show transforming them into edgy and always cosmopolitan pieces, besides incorporating artisan skills form his natal Swiss town of St. Gallen. “It’s been a long time since I wanted to collaborate with Thomas” said Kriemler, who lets his inspiration take over with great talent. “Technology is always on my mind, more than ever, and the collaboration with a grand living artist and friend is a highly inspirational gift.” The Night Series is a group of works that Ruff has created using residual light amplifiers in urban areas around Dusseldorf 1992-1996.
The AKRIS FW collection is cosmic, printed with bright colors that are appealing to the eye and excite the senses. Some of the photos of gardens Ruff took from his atelier are also represented in the dresses. Kriemler also selected images from Ruff’s series Stars, Nights and ma.r.s and used them as at the base for motifs and embroideries. Less commercial were LED-equipped pieces including a coat, pants and three dresses that, when lit appeared like a starry night. The lights went off and the audience was buzzing with anticipation for the grand finale, where glimmering pieces seemed almost extraterrestrial and left the audience in rapture. Thomas Ruff was at the Grand Palais to witness his work become alive in the catwalk.
The artist behind Kriemler’s inspiration
Thomas Ruff was born in 1958 in Hamersbach Germany and belongs to the Dusseldorf School of Photography movement. Working on different series since the late 70’s, he has experimented with different types of photography including portraits, architecture, astronomy, nudes and more, all the time pushing boundaries to the extreme. The photographs of the stars, taken with a specially designed telescopic lens, are described and catalogued with the precise time of day and exact geographic position. In the years from 1992 to 1995 during the first Gulf War, Ruff produced his Night Series (1992-96), night images of exteriors and buildings using the same night vision infrared technology developed for use, both military and in broadcast TV, during the GulfWar. From 1994-1996 they were followed by Stereoscopy images. His photograms and “ma.r.s.” works confirm his interest in visual verisimilitude, with each series exploring the mutability and material presence of the photographic image. The photograms illustrate abstract shapes, lines, and spirals in apparently random formations with varying degrees of translucency and radiance. In case you were wondering, a photogram is a photographic image made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of a light-sensitive material such as a photographic paper and then exposing it to the light. The usual result is a negative shadow image that shows variations in tone that depends upon the transparency of the objects used. The technique is also known as cameraless photography.
Below is a slide show with samples of Ruff’s work intercalated with a few of the inspired AKRIS pieces.
A-Kri-S a third-generation family business
Akris was founded in 1922 by Alice Kriemler-Schoch, and the word Akris stems from the letters of her name A-Kri-S. In 1944 son Max Kriemler took over the business and when his right hand man passed away he asked his son Albert to defer his planned education to assist him for a couple of years. Albert never continued his studies and the rest is history, as he in turn took over the company bringing the Akris collection to Asia and developing the worldwide network of directly operated stores. His Brother Peter Kriemler is the global president handling management and manufacturing. Akris is the largest Swiss clothing Producer and their creations are sold in more than 500 locations worldwide, with its headquarters remaining in St. Gallen, Zurich and Ticino, Switzerland. Kriemler continues St. Gallen’s textile based history by hiring high skilled local artisans. Even if he does not like to talk about it many celebrities wear Akris; Princess Charlene, Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington, Julia Roberts, just to name a few. The first official press fashion show in Paris was in 2004 and this year he celebrated its 10th anniversary on the Paris runway. Kriemler creations have uniqueness and serenity a winning combination to enter the next decennium.