Denim is the seed from which Acne grew, but in recent years, Jonny Johansson has steered the label—at least as far as the runway is concerned—in a different direction. "We never wanted to be just a denim brand," Johansson said. "We were afraid to show too much denim, to be put in a box." That the opening look for Spring was full-on jean signaled something of a homecoming. Johansson explained that workwear had been a particular font of inspiration, and where work is concerned, denim often follows close behind. But while there were echoes of that in the raw-edged denim vests and classic jean jackets, and perhaps also in the looser, boxier silhouette, flourishes like the scuffed gold and silver lace-up shoes added a note of tarnished glamour. So did an oversized striped T-shirt and matching pants in striped satin.
The two strands intertwined in what amounted to a four-piece suit: matching denim jacket, vest, tunic, and pant, Acne's entry in the season-wide arms race of top-to-toe looks. (Simplified versions of sleeveless tunic tops and matching pants in paneled leather were literally all about the arm.)
The last few seasons have represented a growing confidence for the label, which now finds itself with credit to spend. A bit curious it did so on a collection this compressed. Maybe what was offered today wasn't so much a return to roots as a way station on the continuing journey forward.