I guess many designers, hearing the word ‘ballet’, would go for all shades of pastel pink, do fancy layers of tulle, or keep it ‘sensual’, yet coldly strict. Jonny Johansson, the mind behind Acne Studios, proved in his spring-summer 2019 collection that when fashion collides with ballet, the result doesn’t have to be one of those well-known clichés: or your average, pretty ballerina girl, or that kind of cigarette smoking, drowning in beige lady who’s in fact a ballet teacher. There was something of the incredibly colourful Ballets Russes and their distinct vibrancy; maybe, it’s Edgar Dégas’s Petite Danseuse gone very modern, wearing flip-flops and sneakers after the rehearsals in some other dimension; or maybe, the ballet mood got conveyed so smoothly thanks to the placement of Merce Cunningham posters on t-shirts and jackets. Well, whatever the secret is, Johansson captured the energy, the strength and the beauty of ballet in a very profound way. Also, I adored the way he divided the collection into four ballerina ‘stages’: rehearsal, onstage, off-duty, and evening. From flowing pleated skirts and bodysuits to tracksuits and tuxedos, it might be a wardrobe of a ballet dancer – but don’t take it too literal, as it all looks so approachable and realistic.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.