Acne Studios started life as ACNE, when Jonny Johansson embarked on his fashion journey by way of a denim empire and the motto “Ambition to Create Novel Expressions.” It’s a luxuriously open statement that in seasons past has meant zany, exaggerated creations on the wrong side of normal—a balance he has played up and down the scale—establishing a welcome weirdness that has seduced street-smart girls the world over.
An obsession with youth is not uncommon among designers but for spring, Johansson was more specifically intrigued by a young person’s relation to luxury—a conceit he explored with a naïve take on retro “jet set” clothes, the kind seen swanning about the decks of private yachts and swanky, rooftop soirees. Even tweaked as they were, these garments held some first-degree va–va-voom, as he turned the tux into navel-grazing blazer dresses and cut a Saharienne jacket in sleek and sleeveless chartreuse twill. Outerwear ranged from unlined, pastel trenches to gutsy, cinch-waist leather parkas, with drawstring details offering a subtle nautical feel.
Trousers in denim, stretch leather, and slinky knit kicked out with a seventies bell flair over flat, waspy loafers and pristine sneakers, paired at times with point-collared blouses in glossy satin. From afar they appeared dotted with flirty florals, however closer inspection revealed the rub—a print collaboration with Swiss-Portuguese artist Raquel Dias featuring erotic collages festooned with berries and citrus fruits, and the phallic hints that inspired the naughty pre-show pastries. Accessories toyed with the gratuitous icons of the rich and famous, with chain-linked chokers and bracelets in Rolex gold, and mirrored aviators paired with a knotted neckerchief.
While all in good fun, Johansson’s quest to subvert the socialite’s closet had its hiccups—with porno prints being decidedly familiar territory, for one—and the terry-toweling finale held roots in the all too recent works of fellow avant-gardists. The assumption for these clothes to hold an underlying irony is more than expected chez Acne Studios, it is celebrated, and today’s tongue-in-cheek outing lacked such conviction.