Since the Swiss label Akris, designed by Albert Kriemler, entered the Paris scene, it has quietly garnered an impressive reputation for stealthily luxurious clothes that also happen to sell like crazy. So what's the secret? A conundrum that tangentially reveals a lot about our times, as it happens. For the buzz (or, more accurately, the high-frequency bat squeak) about Akris lies in the paradox that it's off the radar: nonfashion fashion. At a time when seeking out label-free anonymity in clothes is beginning to seem, contradictorily, fashionable, the collection is a need-to-know resource.
For fall, Akris certainly is a place for women who can't find a nifty pantsuit to look. (And how many millions are we?) Cut with a tight, short double-breasted jacket and a slimly flared trouser in pistachio cotton-cashmere corduroy, it's an outfit guaranteed to send girlfriends into fits of "where did you get that?" distraction. Same with the velvet versions in subtle slate and duck blues.
And while we're at it, there are beautifully unidentifiable coats to check out here. Take one in gray, with a raised waist, a subtle flare, and a yoke in back. Or another cut into a narrow collarless early-sixties couture shape, which makes a nice nod to the season without screeching "mod." Or yet again, a slim man's overcoat that transcends trend.
These are pieces the nonfashion-fashion hunter is going to feel mighty pleased to have baggednow, and next year, too. As for the rest, the quietly textured wrapped knits and the separates, like jersey fit-and-flare skirts, are minted for another, more conservative market. But the fact that Akris can attract both kinds of women (all of whom are fleeing from excess, yet willing to invest) explains the health of the company's bottom line.