The ‘70s have been making a comeback since the pre-fall collections — and since forever if you think about it. Albert Kriemler is a fan.
“The ’70s were a fabulous moment,” the longtime creative director of Akris enthused during a preview. “They always looked young and fresh.…It was a moment of freedom and ease.”
The designer recently discovered three boxes of paper patterns from that decade, a linchpin one for the Kriemler family since in 1972, his father Max bought an atelier in Zurich specializing in double-face, which would become one of the brand’s key calling cards as it pivoted from aprons to luxury ready-to-wear.
Kriemler used a good number of those archival patterns for his fall Akris collection as the firm celebrates its centenary, updating familiar silhouettes like flared pants and fluted skirts in very 2023 fabrics like Neoprene, some with a velvety surface.
He noted that fits had to be adapted, as women’s physiology has changed, but he kept the spirit of the era, devising a geometric print in browns and orange, and selecting an abstract floral circa 1976 from famed silk supplier Abraham that he found in the archive.
Designed by Abraham’s owner Gustav Zumsteg, it features on gauzy prairie dresses and intarsia shearlings that are marvels of craftsmanship. Kriemler noted that Zumsteg brought him along to a few Yves Saint Laurent haute couture shows in the mid-1970s, cementing his ambition to design clothes.
By now, Kriemler is a whiz at devising silhouettes from luscious textiles, leading a visitor to a little tennis dress in cashmere flannel that melts in the hand and a checkered coat in a sturdier double-face wool.
Akris made the fashion pack trek out to the gritty 19th arrondissement for the cavernous event space Le 104. Sneakers and chunky hiking boots were good for the concrete floor, and helped blunt the retro feel of bell-bottom pantsuits. But on that vast runway, the clothes lost some of the luster they emitted in the showroom.
Kriemler is gearing up for a large-scale exhibition charting the history of the fashion house at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, which is dedicated to industrial design, visual communication, architecture and craft. It opens to the public on May 12 and runs through Sept. 24.