January 07, 2014 New York
Pre-Fall gets knocked as the most purely commercial season. But commercial needn't mean boring, as Acne Studio's Jonny Johansson understands. Indeed, Johansson is one of those designers who seems to thrive under constraint: This collection benefited from its refusal to be statement making, with pleasures derived from the interesting mix of materials at play and the relatively gentle attitude of the clothes. There's always a kind of urbane toughness to Acne, and this collection was no different, but it made sense when Johansson explained that his main source of inspiration was the time spent in fall and winter at his relatively new beach house outside Stockholm. There was something earthy, in the most literal sense, about the way the designer mingled the textures of Persian lamb and felted or boiled wool with slick silk, leather, and neoprene; meanwhile, numerous wrapped, draped, and folded wool pieces looked like they'd been riffed off of beach blankets, the kind you wrap up in for a walk along the shore on a brisk day. The typically excellent Acne outerwear had a likewise easy feel, with the standouts being Johansson's new motorcycle jackets executed in shearling, and his color-blocked, quilted anorak, which cinched ever so neatly at the waist. Stovepipe leather and second-skin neoprene tops aside, you couldn't help but feel like this collection just wanted to give you a big hug—a feeling underscored by Johansson's use of naive floral appliqués based on cutouts made by his son. Bless.
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