Akris is and always has been a no-logo brand: You’ll never find the name of the house on the outside of a dress or coat. Still, I had to create a certain signature when we developed our first handbag collection, which required a special visual vocabulary expressed in the shape of clasps and other elements. I lost sleep trying to both stick with our identity and find a key visual for the brand. Then, in a stunning moment of serendipity, a picture of a building caught my eye. It was a concrete trapezoidal structure (left) by Tatiana Bilbao, a young Mexican architect—one of the 17 pavilions in the Jinhua Architecture Park in China commissioned by Ai Weiwei. I realized that the building’s shape resembled an A—as in Akris and as in Alice, my grandmother and the founder of the house. The trapezoid communicated Akris without directly saying it; the walls Bilbao created to frame the structure inspired a wool embroidery, and we made trapezoids in lacquered knit and other advanced materials. We also launched the Ai bag (left)—our first ever—in 2010. It’s a simple tote with a trapezoid buckle, and it’s become something of an iconic piece.
Styled by Edward Enninful