For a guy often accused of popularizing Swedish design, Acne's Jonny Johansson doesn't rhapsodize about the notion. "Historically we don't have a fashion background, really," he said after his latest Acne show. "Architecture, yes. Design, yes. But fashion?" And yet tonight's show was his homage to his homeland. He looked to the seventies for inspiration, a time when,
as he is well-placed to recall, denim was beginning to be imported en masse.
If denim was important to the development of Scandinavian fashion, it's also been crucial to the development of Acne, which rose to fame on the strength of its jeans. And investing in what it does best helped the label turn out a very fine collection. There was romance and retro both in the rounded club collars, cabled sweaters tucked into chinos, the loafers, and tapered, trouser-cut jeans. Reinforcing the mood was the soft, muted palette that dominated the show. But there was newness, too, in the addition of athletic elements, borrowed from Johansson's runner friends. Their running leggings and bike shorts inspired the paneled viscose tights and mini shorts.
They exemplified the functionalism that Johansson sees as the true Swedish heritage—even if he classed it up with patent evening shoes or a raw suede pullover. Individually, you might have seen versions of some of these pieces before. But you wouldn't have seen them thrown in the blender with the rest like you did here. And that—not jeans—is what keeps Acne chugging along.