Swiss designer Albert Kriemler usually shows his Akris collection in Paris. But in New York to receive The Couture Council’s prestigious Artistry of Fashion award, he decided to take the opportunity to show his spring/summer 2017 collection during New York Fashion Week.
Akris is beloved by fashionable high-powered women for expertly-crafted architectural designs (clients include Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, Martha Stewart and Condoleeza Rice) so the iconic glass-box Lever House on Park Avenue seemed a perfect place to showcase the collection, particularly during the finale when models exited the runway and walked along a glass enclosed hallway to the backstage dressing rooms.
Kriemler, who is also known for his artistic side, was inspired by Cuban-American abstract painter Carmen Herrera, who is currently the subject of a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. On her 101st birthday in May, Kriemler met the artist and she gave him her blessing to base his collection on her work.
He took the assignment literally, setting the runway along a floor painted bright yellow with a white rectangular entry, inspired by "Amarillo Dos," a 1971 abstract work by Herrera, where two irregular L-shaped yellow pieces are intertwined with one another, with a sliver of white showing through.
Many of the creations, in shades of orange, green, black, beige and white, were based on abstract geometric patterns in a dozen of Herrera's works. The first look, a structured white linen shorts suit with a sliver of a green triangle at the lapel, and the last one, a sleeveless white gown bisected by a thin green panel, were based on Herrera's 1959 painting "Blanco y Verde."
Linen slacks, a double-face cotton painter jacket and trapezoidal skirt reflect patterns from Herrera's 1950 work, "Green Gardens," while a laser cut suede over tulle tunic in a burnt orange was inspired by Herrera's 1949 piece, "Venetian Red, White and Black." Another Herrera piece from 1989, "Orange and Red," was the basis for several bold print crêpe de chine dresses.
As usual, Kriemler used the finest fabrics and workmanship to create the collection. But with Herrera's minimal artwork as his guide, the effect was relaxed, cool, and refined.
Akris recently opened a boutique in River Oaks District and also has a store in Dallas' Highland Park Village.