March 02, 2013 Paris
This was rich material to play with, and the sheer variety of ideas on the runway, and the riot of color and fabric, gave you a sense of Johansson's exuberance about the project. And as usual, there were a lot of fine pieces here, like the men's and women's suit jackets and gilets that had been roughly gathered, and the women's short, sharp vests accented in metallic leather. In addition, Johansson's nubby bouclé looks were a highlight, especially those embellished with the stitchlike chain.
Overall, however, this was a mixed effort. The emphasis on layering meant there wasn't a clear message on proportion or silhouette. The oversizing here was a disappointment, as well—Johansson knows how to magnify a garment with flair, as his terrific pre-fall collection attested, but in this instance the models often seemed lost in their clothes. The scale didn't feel particularly specific. Nor, for that matter, did the off-kilter construction of much of the tailoring: Johansson said he'd made his jackets fall askew because he wanted them to feel relaxed, but the off-ness read as mannered instead.
Acne is a brand with enormous reserves of talent. Johansson's ambition is plain, and he and his team have earned their place on the big stage of Paris. But they seem to have developed a habit of damping the effect of their very good ideas, like this season's central theme of exposed construction, by throwing more ideas on top of them and not attending to the edit with sufficient discipline. A bit more focus would be welcome.