Swiss fashion design
The label "Made in Switzerland" conjures up images of things rich, tasty, indestructible, reliable. Like chocolate, cheese, watches and pocket knives. But what about fashion? Even the Alpine country’s diehard fans may not know that Swiss fashion is anything but provincial - it plays in the international league.
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Fashion from Switzerland – a different kind of surprise
Silk king and bonvivant André Stutz is probably the most prominent member of the Swiss design scene. He has been running the silk salon Fabric Frontline with his sisters Elsa and Maya since 1980 and together they combine typical Swiss craftsmanship and attention to detail with zeitgeisty design. In Zurich, two Fabric Frontline boutiques sell silk handkerchiefs and blouses, ties and stolas in all colors of the rainbow as well as sweaters of top quality, long-fiber cashmere.
Fabric Frontline shop and adjoining Seidenspinner restaurant: Ankerstraße 118, Zurich, Tel. +41-44/241 64 55. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6.30pm, Sat 10am-4pm. Second shop: Bahnhofstraße 25/Bärengasse 7, Zurich, Tel. +41-44/222 20 00. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm. www.fabricfrontline.ch
"I often get my inspiration from old Japanese prints," says Designer Kazu Huggler, "and then I turn them into something new." Born in Tokyo to a Japanese father and a Swiss mother, Kazu Huggler attended school in Switzerland but completed her studies in the Far East. Today, she lives and works in Zurich.
Kazu Shop & Atelier: Neptunstraße 2, Zurich, Tel. +41-43/268 05 75. Open Tue-Fri 12 noon-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm, or by appointment. www.kazuhuggler.com
Slender, pretty Ida Gut is the best person to model her own clean yet ingenious designs, a combination of cool, severe lines with bright, cheerful colors. The charismatic fashion designer spends each day in her studio, endlessly draping her dummies in fabric until she’s happy with the result. She sells her designs herself in a spectacularly beautiful shop with curved partition walls and discreet lighting.
Ida Gut Mode: Ankerstraße 112 (back courtyard), Zurich, Tel. +41-44/ 291 33 60. Open Mon-Fri 11am-6.30pm, Sat 10am-4pm. www.idagut.ch
Handbags, Leibli and international designers
Freitag is a label with an unconventional concept. In 1993, the brothers Markus and Daniel Freitag, both graphic designers, were looking for a bag. True Zurichers cycle to work but they often have to put up with rain. Inspired by the truck traffic regularly passing their front door, they sewed a messenger bag from an old truck tarpaulin. The idea caught on like wildfire and their products now include laptop cases, wallets and much, much more. Each article is unique because no two tarpaulins are the same.
Freitag: Geroldstraße 17, Zurich, Tel. +41-43/ 366 95 20. Open Mon-Fri 11am-7.30pm, Sat 10am-6pm. www.freitag.ch
There’s no doubt about it: Fidelio is one of the best places to shop in Zurich. The boutique chain sells Swiss and international labels.
This boutique is run in cooperation with designer Ruth Grüninger: Nüschelerstraße 31, Zürich, Tel. +41-43/497 24 49. Open Mon-Fr 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm. www.fidelio-kleider.ch
There’s one Swiss brand that’s both so typical and so atypical that you just have to love it: Zimmerli. Zimmerli of Switzerland has been making fine underwear since 1871 and its undershirts now enjoy cult status in Hollywood. When Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman or Hilary Swank strip down to basics you can bet that their underwear came from Coldrerio, Ticino where Zimmerli still produces every single garment. Available outside Switzerland, too, in many fine clothing stores around the world!
Akris, a label from St. Gallen, is the apex of Swiss dressmaking. Albert Kriemler is the chief designer here, and although he doesn’t like to admit it his success is largely due to a true-blue Swiss trait: discretion. Akris designs are famous for their elegance and reserve. "Our name stands for a new type of luxury that’s unmistakably modern and feminine," Kriemler explains. "We favor simple lines and flattering materials."
Arkis: Shop search at www.akris.ch There are no flagship stores in Zurich but there’s a shop-in-shop in the luxury department store, Grieder: Bahnhofstraße 30, Tel. +41-44/224 36 36. Open Mon-Fri 9.30am-7pm, Sat 9.30am-6pm. www.bongenie-grieder.ch
Dorothée Vogel does not sell her designs commercially. Instead, she hosts a twice-yearly private viewing of her collection at her Salon Privé, and then a couple of months after you make your choice, it’s delivered to your door. The spirited designer likens her job to that of "a DJ, who changes rhythms and inserts extra notes." In other words: She enhances the classic cut of her clothing by using unusual patterns and materials.
Dorothée Vogel: email@example.com, Tel. +41-44/364 33 07.
pictures: Corbis; PR (5)