Jonny Johansson's inspiration du jour was "winter beach." The rocky beaches of the Scandinavian peninsula are more existential than the usual Beach Blanket Bingo variety, and Johansson has lately had opportunity to spend some spiritual time by the water. "One year ago I bought a house in Torö. It was Ingmar Bergman's summer home in the sixties," he said. "It's quite far out and tortured." Which you could also say about the designer himself.
But the slight chill in the air seemed to do the collection good. Last season's more conceptual antics—glam rock as inspired by the Swedish outsider artist Hilma af Klint—tested the resolve of Acne Studios' more pragmatic fans. But the label's taste for boundary-pushing waxes and wanes with the seasons. This was a realistic collection of pieces, not lacking in styling brio but not defined by it either. Maybe things were grounded by the emphasis on functionality. That can mean many things. It can be the functionality of a waterproof parka in neoprene; or of a pant made modular by the addition of zippers at the ankles to expand or constrict the shape; or simply the functionality of agreeable pieces, like brushed alpaca topcoats, popover anoraks, and satin varsity jackets, that don't overreach into unnecessary avant-garde territory. The beachy palette of sand, blush, and camel gave it all a new freshness for winter.
The collection served as a happy return to a more restrained form. Those who might regret that need only wait. A few long foiled layering pieces and shirts hanging down well past waist level suggested an idea still in development. "A lot of guys in the office wear skirts," Johansson said with a note of bloodhound curiosity. The pendulum will no doubt swing again.