When I first heard Akris designer Albert Kriemler was delving into the accessories world–having so masterfully conquered the art of tasteful dressing–I had my doubts. “Was it really necessary?” I thought. Having recently previewed and learned about the bags at the Swiss company’s Manhattan showroom, the answer is a resounding yes. Not only does Daphne Guinness front the couture-like line in the current spring campaign, but Akris has really gone against the grain of trend in favor of expanding its heritage. In one way or another, the bags all incorporate nomadic Mongolian horsehair in ranging from the handle to a full façade courtesy of Comtesse, an 80-year-old German firm specializing in the manufacture of woven horse hair (no animals were hurt in the process, which is really comparable to getting a haircut). Akris is no stranger to the material: it’s been used to line garments and coats and horsehair is even utilized in its stores worldwide.
What I appreciate most about the collection–which ranges from a “Mini Ai” evening bag with long jewel strap to the “Alba” top handle made of seamless horsehair, “Allegra” hobo, “Amata” clutches and “Ai” carryalls–is their lush, unadorned sentiments. I particularly like the “Amata” bag because of its sheer practicality: not only is the clutch frame detachable for convenient cleaning, but the larger version features a convertible version that snaps on just like that! Frumpy Swiss Misses stay away; with nary a logo in sight save for the subliminal “A-shaped” hardware or the quilted trapezoidal pattern available on select models, they’re a must-have for the ladies who love Jil Sander, Balenciaga and Yohji Yamamoto. What’s more, for pre-fall, Akris is experimenting with new fabrics like Dalmatian and cashmere. Simply put: these bag are something to yodel about.
The collection ranges from $2,000 to $7,000 and is available at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Akris boutiques