Hats By Katrinka

Kate Brown Pernia is a Milliner on sabbatical in Switzerland. She has been designing hats and teaching millinery under her Katrinka label since the 1980s. Kate is also the founder of Houston Hat Net. View Katrinka hats and hat patterns at www.hatsbykatrinka.com.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


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Oh la la la la!!! I am just back from a couple of hours at the Textile Museum here to see their part of the four museum-wide SCHNITTPUNKT, Kunst und Kleid (CutStitch, Art and Dress) St. Gallen show. The Textile Museum’s display is Akris, a designer name that I had not known before.

Akris is a St. Gallen family company in its third generation with Albert Kriemler, grandson of founder Alice Kriemler Schoch, as the creative designer. To say the least, I am stunned by the beauty and timelessness of these clothes. Garments displayed range from the 1980s collections through to Fall 2006 designs. The pieces make use of luxurious fabrics such as cashmere, alpaca, softest wool tweeds, perforated nappa leather, silk organza, chiffon, georgette, crepe and a fur- new to me - called chekiang. (This is described as a double faced fur but seems to be lambskin with its curly wool on the other side.) Albert Kriemler works closely with St. Gallen embroidery companies Jakob Schlaepfer, Bischoff Textil and Forster Rohner who create gorgeous embroideries, laser cut fabrics and hologram paillettes interpreting old techniques in new and modern ways. Everywhere in the Museum you get to see how Kriemler utilizes these embroideries. This dress, for example, is made of tiny strips of leather sewn into medallions on to nude organza.

Akris has done an exquisite job of presenting these stunning clothes at the Textile Museum. Not only are the garments displayed close enough to touch throughout the Museum but there are videos (in German) about the fabric companies, the designer’s production process, fashion shows and a video of the 2006 New Year’s Eve concert by the Vienna Philharmonic featuring the Viennese Opera’s ballet ensemble wearing dresses by Albert Kreimler. Above the video presentation the dresses float in the air above the staircase.

There are displays of couture fabrics with signs encouraging one to touch and racks of couture jackets to be tried on by visitors. These were in various sizes and made of perforated nappa leather and double faced cashmere in nearly weightless construction. Gorgeous! I’ve never seen a textile or clothing exhibit that so encouraged its sensual appreciation by visitors. An amusing touch was the display of fashion show shoes that seemed to walk down the wall to the fashion show film.

The Akris exhibit takes over all of the display space in the Textile Museum. It is well worth the 10 CHF entry fee which includes a program booklet available in English. You can also purchase a combination ticket for all four museums at a discount. I have not yet seen the other three exhibits associated with this one so will report later on those. I DO know that I will be going back to this one several times before it closes on January 7, 2007. More details to come.

Kate Q:-)


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