This was one of Acne Studios‘ strongest collections in a while. It had some very surprising turns (eveningwear!), it had an inspiring sustainability factor, and it somehow captured what fashion can be in turbulent times. But lets start from the beginning. When Jonny Johansson was a teenager still at school he lobbied his mother to get him some Levi’s 501s. Mrs. Johansson resisted, bought Swedish, and came back with two pairs of denim pants that she’d snagged from H&M for the same price as one pair of red tags. “She said this is the best choice,” Johansson sighed backstage. At the same time, however, Mrs. J also picked up a jacket which Jonny initially was not into – but which he decided to have a go at turning into something he liked. “It needed to be shortened and then I added a belt. I went into school wearing it, not knowing if people would notice it, or notice that it was home-made – which was not cool,” he said today. None of Johansson’s schoolmates reacted either way. Well, just look at him now. This collection leaned into Acne’s denim heritage in front of an influence-loaded audience with great effect. Upcycled patched denim paperbag skirts, an upcycled patched denim crini dress, and the opening look, a wide-leg garment dyed denim skirt, all paid homage to the single medium that was chiefly responsible for this multi-hyphenate success. Against this he played denim’s natural co-conspirator, leather, via a series of double-breasted trench coats reduced to slit-skirted armless dresses, sometimes also overdyed. Other notable elements included tuft-lined and sometimes-quilted regal blanket dresses in grandma florals, crystal embedded rib-kit socks over shoes, grungily faded jersey separates, layered fringed curtain dresses, and repeated returns to the post-Talking Heads boxy blazer in overdyed leather that was another early Acne signature. As tattered and ragged in its delivery as it was complete in its conception, this was an Acne collection that seemed more comfortable with itself than some of Johansson’s previous ventures. The show was accompanied by an original live performance by musician and composer Suzanne Ciani, a pioneer of electronic music who embraced the liberating technologies of synth to transform the way we listen to music today. As a last-minute change, the finale soundtrack reminded one of a war battleground rattle. The nomadic silhouettes walking on the elevated runway with these disturbing sound sensations in the background felt like a hopeful vision: in the end, the good overcomes the evil.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.