Photos by Theo DouglasYou can't let the facts get in the way of a good story, the fortysomething platinum blonde explains outside Neiman Marcus, after she tells me that story and before she finishes her cigarette. It's based on personal experience—she says, after I say I'm a writer—and it's about a woman justlikeherwho gets into the wrong white Mercedes in a parking lot just like this one, and drives away, anditchangesherlife.Except for the fact, I point out, that like hers, each white Mercedes comes with a specific key—so what she's just described could never happen.
"You know," she says, "you should try to come up with stories more like this and then you wouldn't just be doing these little columns."
Which prepares me for the Akris fall collection trunk show inside Neiman's, where—similar to what I've just experienced—it becomes clear that facts, like the prices on those little white tags, should not impede in any way one's fashion sense, one's needs for simplicity or for the luxury it conceals.
See no seam.
"There's a simplicity that fulfills her needs," says Akris' Peter Koo, who is on hand to show the collection. Simple it is: $700 gauzy silk blouses printed by inkjet; mind-blowing, lightweight $10,000 Nehru-collared leather coats; fine cotton skirts that change color in the light like tonic mohair. And it is pricey—but perhaps rightly so. This is sportswear couture: pieces that, as Koo points out, look just right in Orange County's informality—but dress up fine too. And they have the detailing that has been Akris' hallmark for most of its 80 years.
Founded in Switzerland—which is still saying something—and currently designed by company grandson Albert Kriemler, the company signature is the hidden seam. What that means, in theory, is garments you could wear inside out, if you wanted to—and if they would button the other way. Not that you're in the market for something that's all but reversible—or for something made of cashmere, ribbed cashmere or cashmere tweed—but it's nice to know they're out there.
And for some, it's mind-expanding to consider the fashion possibilities: the idea that someone somewhere takes the time to find three or four flavors of cashmere, and to hand-finish a hidden seam. Even if you can't afford it.
FIND AKRIS ONLINE AT WWW.AKRIS.CH OR AT NEIMAN MARCUS, 601 NEWPORT CENTER DR., NEWPORT BEACH, (949) 759-1900.
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