Albert Kriemler’s Work of Art

Albert Kriemler’s Work of Art

Akris Blanco y Verde structured linen shorts suit &
Ai messenger bag in Cervocafs

When Akris Creative Director Albert Kriemler received his 2016 Museum at FIT Couture Council Artistry in Fashion Award on Wednesday, at the David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center, he talked about his love affair with New York and the inspiration he gets from this city, the architecture, and all its museums, which he regularly visits.

 Akris Iberia No. 25 cap sleeve organza coat georgette
tank top and jersey leggings with Anouk day bag in printed sofcalf

Known for his understated minimal luxury, his sleek, fuss free, expertly tailored designs, his exceptional use of the best fabrics in the world, and couture like workmanship, his work has admittedly always been inspired by both architecture and art. During the course of his speech, he also admitted that he was so energized by having been honored with this award (and was so moved by FIT), that rather than showing in Paris, as he has always done, he decided to show in New York this season.

Akris Untitled 1952 silk dress with zip detail
&  Anouk day bag in printed softcalf

His venue of choice for Friday afternoon’s spring 2017 runway show was the iconic Lever House on Park Avenue and 54th Street; specifically, a sprawling, light filled, raw, industrial, space on the second floor, which happens to be empty at the moment. It had the feel of an artist’s loft, which could not have been more perfect given the fact that his well-balanced, beautifully conceived 51 piece collection was inspired by and dedicated to Carmen Herrera, a Cuban born 101 year old artist who lives and works in New York.

Carmen Herrera  Blanco y Verde

In his program notes, Albert said that on his first visit to the Whitney Museum last June, he literally “could not take his eyes off” Carmen’s “Blanco y Verde”, 1959:  an off white plane with a green arrow shaped triangle. He was stunned by the perfection of her sense of color and proportion and its “blend of euphoria and perfect order”. When he finally had a chance to meet the artist on the occasion of her 101st birthday in May, he got her approval to use that and several of her other works dating from 1948 – 2014, as inspiration for this collection.

Akris Iberia No. 25 St. Gallen embroidery coat suede shorts medium
Ai shoulder bag in laser cut leather

While there were several very ‘New York’ pieces in all black (he even threw in a pair of ripped black jacquard knit leggings which was shown with the Iberia No. 25 St. Gallen embroidery blazer) and a number of easy breezy natural linens (including a linen tunic and a painter coat with a light silver shine), the highlights of the collection were undeniably the graphic dresses and ensembles, and the handbags (the iconic Ai and Anouk day bags) which were out rightly inspired by Herrera’s paintings: Azul y Negro”, 2014; “Alba”, 2014; “Orange and Red”, 1989; “PM”, 1990; “Rojo y Blanco”, 1986; “Untitled”, 1952; “Untitled”, 1976; “Equation”, 1958; “Iberia no.25”, 1949; “Venetian Red, White, and Black”, 1949; “Green Garden”, 1950.

The artist Carmen Herrera

Miraculously, Ms. Herrera, did not have her first show until 2004 and she had to wait until the age of 90, in 2009 for her first sale, which was to celebrated collector Agnes Gund, who was then president of the Museum of Modern Art. Talk about being a ‘late bloomer’! She was introduced to Ms. Gund by the artist Tony Bechera, who has been a close friend and longtime supporter. Tony was at the packed show, along with a group that included Glenda Bailey, Robbie Myers, Linda Fargo, Dr. Valerie Steele, Patricia Mears, Steven Kolb, Yaz Hernandez, Margaret Hayes, Jean Shafiroff, Tonne Goodman.

By the way, the timing of all of this could not be more perfect given the fact that beginning September 16th, a solo exhibition featuring nine of Carmen’s Blanco y Verde paintings dated from 1959 – 1971 will be on view at the Whitney Museum.

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Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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