In a switch from the typical seating arrangements, buyers rather than editors sat at the head of Akris' runway, with the best views in the house. It was a fitting development, since Albert Kriemler's take on the week's black-and-nude illusion dressing trend was less Strictly Ballroom than strictly chic. Akris has become a quiet retail powerhouse on the strength of this designer's subtle and approachable interpretations of runway developments. In addition to those organza dresses with tulle insets or straps so sheer they almost performed disappearing acts, he also did volume. But that didn't mean trapezes or tent dresses. Those aren't his style, nor his clients'. A subtle bustle gave the back of plunge-front dresses in platinum shot silk, striped voile, or coated wool a youthful swing. Likewise, blouson tops were reined in by bands at the upper arm and waist. The season's billowy cuffed shorts appeared here, too, although with the front pocket linings dipping visibly below their hems, they didn't seem as comfortable a fit with the brand's sophisticated sensibilities.

In a city where the grand gesture rules, this label risks being overlooked. That's why Kriemler and co. invited show-goers to Akris' St. Gallen, Switzerland, headquarters for a quick tour of the brand's archives at a special exhibition last weekend. By all accounts, the Alpine town has an illustrious past as a center for textiles. But today Kriemler looked straight ahead with the show's modern, geometric embroideries.