Albert Kriemler, the designer and driving force behind Akris, had something to celebrate this Sunday in Paris. The 10th anniversary of his iconic bag: Ai.
As a result, the set for the latest Akris show was something else. To fête his handbag’s birthday – a classic tote folded into a trapezoidal silhouette – the designer constructed a giant version of the Ai, 50-meters long, placing the audience inside the bag within the Salon d’Honneur of the Grand Palais.
Moreover, the backdrop was a 10-meter-high silver version of the Ai, out of which the cast marched, half of them carrying versions of the handbag and wearing a sophisticated selection of clothes inspired by the Italian artist Antonio Calderara.
Antonio lived near Lago d’Orta, and the collection’s color palette captured the idea of light on water – shimmering, reflective and iridescent – seen in his later abstract geometric paintings. Many of the Ai’s carried by models also riffed on the artist’s favored hues.
Kriemler has a well-founded reputation for designing clothes for intelligent career women, and his Spring 2020 collection had oodles of choice for women of distinction who like to wear their success suavely and quietly.
Somewhat bizarrely, Albert opened the proceedings with evening looks – like a super silver Lurex trapezoid gown, topped by a mannish tuxedo. Followed by a great pick of cotton canvas gilets, biker jackets and bombers in dusty silver, all worn over either flared pants or silver sequined sheathes. For so long a color used for special event clothes, silver is all over the Paris runways and almost a wardrobe staple for spring 2020. A soulful techy touch for discerning gals.
Kriemler also featured lots of ecru and putty in marvelous spy coats and precision power suits. When he did kick in some color, it was a mix of icy or faded shoreline blues, seen in jaunty tuxedo suits.
A beautiful trio of giant patchwork check shirt-dresses in light pastels echoed Calderara’s abstractions, adding a graceful touch to the whole show, as did the beautiful soundtrack, a Metamorphosis remix by Murcof x Vanessa Wagner from the original work by Phillip Glass.
“Antonio was a really great artist. He is largely unknown, but his time will come and he will be collected by the great museums. I think we would have liked today,” smiled the ever-gentlemanly Albert.