Akris was founded in St. Gallen, Switzerland, in 1922 by Alice Kriemler-Schoch as an atelier for aprons. Alice soon dressed the region's most stylish women using only local fabrics, many of them embroidery.
In 1944, Alice's son Max Kriemler joined the family business. He named the house Akris, after the initials of her name. He helped grow ready-to-wear and collaborated with Parisian couture houses like Ted Lapidus and Givenchy, for whom the Akris ateliers also produced and marketed in collections in the 1970s.
In 1980, at age 19, Max's son Albert was scheduled to move to Paris and work as an apprentice to couturier Hubert de Givenchy. When his father's business partner unexpectedly passed away, he stayed in St.Gallen and took over the design responsibilities of Akris without a second thought.
From there on, Albert gradually turned the house into the international symbol of understated luxury it is today.
Since its founding, the home of Akris has been St.Gallen. The Swiss city of 75'000 has a reputation for being one of the leading textile capitals of the world and is renowned for its unique embroidery. Around 1910, more than fifty percent of the world's embroidery production came from the picturesque town in northern Switzerland. And there has hardly been a fashion house that St.Gallen's fabrics have not allured. Within the city's textile excellence cluster, Akris is rooted and pushing the innovation of the heritage craft with St. Gallen's specialty textile houses such as Bischoff Textil, Forster Rohner, and Jakob Schlaepfer.
For Creative Director Albert Kriemler, the purpose of fashion is to make a woman’s life less complicated, and to enhance, rather than hide, her natural beauty and grace. To Albert, the importance of fashion extends far beyond its aesthetic properties. He sees it as a protective sheath that enters into a sensual dialogue with the body of the woman who wears it.
For this reason, fabric is always Albert’s starting point. He explains, “When I touch a fabric, it tells me what I can do with it. Then I start to draw.” From there, Albert considers a woman’s lifestyle—where she is going, what she is doing, how she wants to feel—and he goes on to create the most refined pieces for every moment in her busy life. The discreetly luxurious designs complement her body and express her individuality. Albert shares, “When a woman walks into a room, I want people to notice her personality first and her clothing second.”
Albert has a passion for art and often collaborates with exceptional painters, sculptors, photographers and architects on his collections. He has previously worked with influential artists such as Carmen Herrera, Geta Brătescu, Rodney Graham and Thomas Ruff.
Double-face is an important element of the signature Akris look. It’s one layer of fabric with two identical sides, woven together on specially designed looms. To finish the edges, a tailor turns the two edges inward upon themselves. These turned-in edges are then hand-sewn to create invisible seams around the perimeter of the garment. The result is a lightweight, highly flexible unlined garment of a single layer of fabric.
St. Gallen Embroidery
Embroidery of Akris is very modern, with effects that are often based on geometrics or graphic design. St. Gallen’s specialty textile and embroidery houses obviously work with many fashion brands, but Akris has the advantage of being next door. This facilitates close collaboration with technical specialists at the fabric houses.
Natural, beautiful, refined, ultra-lightweight, animal friendly resilient and traditional – horsehair is an astonishing material. Its color becomes richer and more interesting over time. The ability to create refined horsehair accessories and small leather goods requires masterful artistry.
Horsehair is a very tricky and stubborn material to work with. A weaving machine can produce only about one meter of horsehair cloth in a day, so the material is very rare. No animal is harmed to process horsehair.