September 01, 2009 London
Jonny Johansson, just arrived from Sweden to present at the Barbican Centre, said he'd been at a friend's wedding on a beach in the south of France and found himself designing in a meditative, spiritual mood. "I don't really like hippie or New Age, but I felt I wanted something slightly mystical." The lineup was full of the urban-chic tailoring and jeans that have made Johansson an accidental cult hero to thousands. One of them, a small blonde woman in a short white dress, turned out to be Kylie Minogue. "I don't know her, but it's nice to meet her," he shrugged, looking surprised. Johansson has a collaborative curiosity and an instinct for doing things just because they feel right to him. "I don't like traveling much, or think about 'inspiration.' I dig where I stand," he explained.
He worked in loose silks for drop-crotch pants and tie-dyed, scrunched textures, sharpening the look with cropped jackets and several variations on cutaway vests. He also set about elaborating on and elevating Acne denim by sending jeans to the British jeweler Husam El Odeh, who came back with flexible silver nickel plates to bolt on as knee armor and back-pocket patches. There were also signature suedes and one great dusty-gray jacket with a fringe in back. But it was the two narrow, languid floor-length silhouettes—one in body-skimming ivory jersey, the other in pale beige crepe with long sleeves and shoulder pads—that best conveyed the relaxed but subtly glamorous aura Johansson was talking about. Their simplicity would qualify them as wearable by day, but his addition of seemingly random sprinklings of mismatched Crystallized Swarovski Elements lent a touch of cool magic to distinguish the look from minimalism.