The key word at tonight's Acne show was ambition. If last season's
collection introduced a new sense of scale to the brand, then this one
doubled down on it: Acne maestro Jonny Johansson seized on a trio of
body-obsessed artists for inspiration, blenderized the references, and came
up with a vision for Fall '12 that was directional, remarkable, and rather
The key figure in Johansson's art trio was undoubtedly the photographer André Kertész, from whom Johansson took his cues for the collection's distorted silhouettes. (The other artists cited were erotic sculptor Hans Bellmer and the painter Hanneline Røgeberg, who inspired the collection's palette.) Johansson achieved distortion in a variety of ways. There were coats sculpted out of shiny shoe leather, shaved down in special machines, that held the arms slightly aloft from the body. There were fitted dresses paneled together from flesh-toned pieces of fabric in organlike shapes, and cropped, puckered knits. Most intriguingly, there were a variety of trousers that simultaneously raised and sank the waistline, such as the pair of burgundy pants that appeared to be slung low on the hip, over a matching zipped girdle; in fact, it was all one garment. A mannish burgundy suit, trimmed in black elastic, was the most winning representation of this idea.
At times, it was hard to figure out how this collection would play on the street. Johansson is certainly challenging his consumer, but he also presented them with some silhouette-shifting ideas that won't be too hard to digest. The low-slung cut of the pants here will make an impact, for one, as will the collection's wide belting and oversize jackets and coats. On the whole, this collection served notice to anyone who still primarily thinks of Acne as a denim brand: They're playing a new game now, and they intend to play in the big leagues.