This season marks ten years on the Paris runway for the Swiss label Akris. Cause to celebrate. The brand's creative director, Albert Kriemler, has used photo prints in his collections for nearly as long as he's been showing here, but never the work of a living artist, despite being an avid collector of contemporary art. For today's milestone collection he approached the influential German photographer Thomas Ruff. Ruffs thirty-year career spans genres, but he's best known for manipulating existing images. That makes him an apt source for Kriemler, who was doing his own appropriating here.
Saturn and its rings were intarsia-ed into a red mink jacket, and an up-close shot of the surface of Mars became a print for a skirtsuit. Both looks landed on the louder side of Kriemler's output. Then there was a sleeveless dress printed with one of Ruff's night-vision photos on top of which the designer embroidered three-dimensional tiles of differing sizes and colors. It sounds busy on paper, but it looked unstudied and chic. Rounding out the collection was luxuriously minimal fare like jackets that reversed from sheared mink to leather or waterproof silk to cashmere. The marvel was how light they were. For the finale, Kriemler lit up embroideries of outer space inspired by Ruff's Stars series with LED lights. In another designer's hands, pyrotechnics of that sort could've been silly, but Kriemler was in control of his material from the beginning to the end.