As Sweden's only fashion brand on this level, Acne has much to live up to. There's a certain Scandinavian aesthetic that is expected of such a brand - and that's exactly the kind of type casting that Jonny Johansson wants to stay clear of. And that's what Acne did. Instead of a common sense attitude, the logical train of thought that a domestic Swedish consumer would require, the A/W12 collection went in a totally opposite direction. "You mean you are doing leather trousers that aren't actually made out of leather? That's crazy!" These words will ring out again and again in their local showrooms back home. Because what Acne did this season was to play around with the idea of what a luxury brand is and what a luxury brand is meant to produce. This season it was all about fake fabrics, a 'don't believe everything you see' kinda thing.
"For me it started with fabric research. We played with the word 'fake', looking at stupid materials"
Polyester, vinyl, fake fur and fake leather dominated. They came out as trousers, coats and jackets and pretended to be for real. The result was an interesting dynamic, one that funnily enough has been pursued by another Swedish designer in the past; Ann-Sofie Back. But Acne's way of doing it was clever... the effect was subtle and easily integrated with a flurry of 'real' fabrics. Denim shorts, for example, came layered on top of dress trousers, perhaps as a nod towards the brand's jean roots. An all-black section to start with was only interrupted by white socks... a very easy bur clever way of drawing attention to the model's bottom halves where cropped trousers reined.
"We're Swedish and we like to keep it to black, grey and white. But in the last few seasons I've been very interested in colours that don't belong together, combinations that feel a bit wrong..."
Throughout the show, once the black clothes had died out, the focus moved onto more colourful pieces. In fact, the colour combinations of the show became a talking point in themselves with moss green/purple, turquoise/green and red/burgundy outfits beaming in the spotlight. Also an extra long pink knitwear top helped cheer everyone up. The third theme of the evening was Acne's layering tendencies... we saw shorts over trousers (as mentioned), gilets over coats and a Harrington jacket worn over a suit. Towards the end a couple of pieces with embroidered hearts infiltrated the collection, making the Acne A/W12 show an excellent way to end Paris Menswear.
Dazed Digital: What was the starting point of the collection?
Jonny Johansson: For me it started with fabric research. We played with the word 'fake', looking at stupid materials... it wasn't anti-establishment in any way, but just... cute!
DD: So everything that looked like something was in fact... fake?
Jonny Johansson: Yes... fake furs and fake leathers!
DD: Where did the hearts come from?
Jonny Johansson: They're the main print story and it's about men and their relationships really. We're not as good as women to handle emotional dramas and I have been talking a lot to a friend of mine of late about love problems, that's where that came from. I like to incorporate how I feel into the collections.
DD: You also went big on layering this season...
Jonny Johansson: Yeah, we've done that a lot for women of late, which is easier than to do it for men. But I think we got it right this time. In Sweden layering is natural, it's so cold. I like those fabrics on top of each other.
DD: Finally, the colour story... pretty strong from time to time!
Jonny Johansson: Yeah definitely - and it's not something we normally do. We're Swedish and we like to keep it to black, grey and white. But in the last few seasons I've been very interested in colours that don't belong together, combinations that feel a bit wrong...
DD: What, like white socks?
Jonny Johansson: Yeah, but that was to underline that this was a very young collection, and it's for young people... and that fashion mistakes are OK...
DD: Is there a piece that stands out for you?
Jonny Johansson: I really like the generic pieces... the trench coats, the biker jackets, the hoods!