Can you really fake it to make it? Jonny Johansson at Acne set out to find out. He began the Fall collection mulling the idea of fakeness and fraudulence, especially as concerns fabrics and materials, those that pretend to be something they're not. Enter leatherette. "The interesting thing is, you stumble into the fabrics and you don't particularly like them," Johansson said backstage after the show. In a season rich—over-rich—with leather and fur, there's a freshness to going faux. And it suits the young men Johansson has in mind, and the young men who buy his label.
The fake materials—not only leatherette and vinyl but polyester, pile, and faux fur, too—gelled with the dressed-up grunge feel of the collection. The original grunge kids were anti-precious and reveled in the kind of nose-thumbing that Johansson emulated here by sticking pleather on a Paris runway. For added effect, he played it off high fabrics like mohair and Harris tweed. The achievement at Acne is to keep the rebel spirit and the high end both intact. In Johansson and his team's hands, grunge got elegant. The way looks were cobbled together almost haphazardly, short lengths over long, shorts over pants, was willfully odd. But it was tied together and elevated by the keen eye for color combinations and proportion.
In the midst of working with fakes, Johansson was thinking about an emotion that's anything but: the uncertainty and pain of young love. Who writhes like a heartsick kid does? The designer sprayed shirts and sweats with soulful but almost mocking prints of hearts, and charted a careering course between buoyant brights and moody black.