FIT Couture Council to Honor Akris Creative Director Albert Kriemler

One constant in the ever-changing world of fashion is that design never sleeps, allowing no rest for the weary. As we have witnessed of late, it can be this cycle which either drives a fashion director to distraction or spurs one on to the next great thing. The Couture Council of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology will honor someone in the latter category at their annual award luncheon on Wednesday, September 7.

Dr. Valerie Steele, Director of the Museum at FIT
& Chair of Couture Council Advisory Board
(Photos: Laurel Marcus)

Akris Creative Director Albert Kriemler will be the recipient of the 2016 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion. He has been at the helm of the Swiss company since 1980, and happens to be one of the original founder Alice Kriemler Schoch’s (note the acronym in her name) grandsons. The brand was founded in 1922 and has only had three creative directors — all family members.

View of interior of Akris boutique

Last evening I attended a cocktail party at the Akris boutique on Madison Avenue for this announcement. Each year the luncheon takes place as the traditional first event of New York Fashion Week and serves as the biggest fundraiser of the year for The Museum of FIT. Though the cocktail party was well attended by many on the Couture Council, unfortunately Mr. Kreimler, who was in his studio in St. Gallen working on his resort collection, could only be beamed in by pre-recorded video.

President of  FIT Dr. Joyce F. Brown

In her introduction of FIT President Dr. Joyce F. Brown, Dr. Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT and chair of the Couture Council Advisory Board praised Kreimler adding that “Akris is best-known for luxurious minimalism,” beautiful fabrics and for “making clothes MODERN. What women appreciate about Akris is that they wear the clothes, the clothes don’t wear them. Not surprisingly, some of the most accomplished women in the world appreciate the cool confidence that Akris gives them.” A few examples of the Akris clad include Angelina Jolie, Princess Charlene of Monaco and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Jean Shafiroff & Patricia Mears, MFIT Deputy Director

Dr. Brown remarked on the “internationally acclaimed” House of Akris while citing Kriemler’s designs, craftsmanship and “exquisite fabrics” as contributing to the many reasons that the company “continues to thrive after more than 90 years. It is a pleasure to be honoring this extraordinary designer and the family fashion house he represents,” she said.

Dr. Joyce Brown, Peter Herink, & Dr.Valerie Steele

Peter Herink, CEO of Akris introduced the video of his virtual boss, commenting on how thrilled he was that Albert would be receiving this award. Kriemler, via the television monitor, spoke of how he tries not to miss an exhibition at FIT because of the great job that Valerie Steele and her team do to “continue to fascinate and surprise.” He mentioned the symbiotic relationship between designers and curators of museums who each inspire the other. “Let us celebrate this spirit of cross-inspiration and the Couture Council’s tremendous effort to make these directional exhibitions possible.” He said that he felt “deeply honored” to be chosen as the award recipient.

Yaz Hernandez trying on stole

After the speeches on the upstairs level, guests were invited to shop and pre-order the fall collection which was flown in from Paris just for this event. While white, green and a vivid floral print were some of the predominate spring hues shown on the store’s first level, orange, red and burgundy were the rich colors of fall.  The hot off the runway collection featured stylized reversible leopard prints, fringed necklines, antelope fur dyed a stunning burgundy hue, and an incredible laser cut leather that resembled a tonal python skin used on a dress and jacket.

Yaz Hernandez, Eleonora Kennedy & Kathy Reilly

The Couture Council Advisory Board which selects each year’s winner, is made up of fashion journalists, editors, retailers, and curators, including Glenda Bailey, Hamish Bowles, Ken Downing, Linda Fargo, Nicole Fischelis, Akiko Fukai, Pamela Golbin, Patricia Mears, and Suzy Menkes. Past winners have included Manolo Blahnik (2015), Carolina Herrera (2014), Michael Kors (2013), Oscar de la Renta (2012), Valentino (2011), Karl Lagerfeld (2010), Dries Van Noten (2009), Isabel Toledo (2008), Albert Elbaz (2007), and Ralph Rucci (2006). Giorgio Armani received a special award for Global Fashion Leadership in 2008.

To purchase luncheon tickets, please contact Vicki Guranowski at (212) 217-4105 or email Victoria

– Laurel Marcus

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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