To New York City, Love Acne Paper-------
What does it take to be a New Yorker? According to Acne Paper editor in chief Thomas Persson, confidence, energy, vitality, and sometimes, audacity. London-based Norwegian though he is, Persson has spent a good deal of time thinking about New Yorkism of late: The magazine’s 14th issue, dedicated to New York, launches tonight with a party at New York’s legendary Four Seasons restaurant. (On its cover: echt New Yorkers like Fran Lebowitz, Richard Serra, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.) Considering Acne opened a new store in Soho this past June and its designer, Jonny Johansson, married his longtime girlfriend in NYC last weekend, it would seem an appropriate time for Persson to feature the Big Apple. And within the pages of Acne Paper‘s latest issue, he unearths striking images and surprising stories that would intrigue even the most jaded of New Yorkers. There are archive shots by Steven Meisel, a new shoot with Karlie Kloss, a look into apartments in neighborhoods throughout New York, and a series of portraits by Brigitte Lacombe featuring New Yorkers including Martin Scorsese (pictured, above), Jeff Koons (pictured, below), and Lena Dunham. But, adds Persson, “I would love for people to actually read the magazine. There are some really good stories in there. New Yorkers are great storytellers.” Here, he speaks with Style.com about his first time in New York, the difference between New Yorkers and Scandinavians, and the city’s suggestive skyline.
Why did you choose New York for your first city-centric issue?
I had been wanting to do an issue on New York for a long time. It’s a city that’s totally different from any other place in the world. And, it seemed like a good time because Jonny just got married here last weekend. He and his girlfriend met in New York 20 years ago and they had this lovely wedding, so it seemed like a good moment to do sort of a love letter to New York City.
What do you think makes New York so mesmerizing?
Because it attracts a certain kind of person. People who choose to live in New York City are often full of ambition and drive. They have an enthusiasm for what they’re doing and for life. So it has this electric intensity that you don’t find in Europe. You come to New York if you really want to accomplish something. There’s a very high level of energy. Also, because it’s so compressed. It’s this little island, it’s a small place and the whole world has gathered here. I think that is really unique.
How do you feel that your Scandinavian perspective frames your view of the city?
Well, I’m Norwegian and I feel very Norwegian when I’m in New York. I don’t know how to describe it. People here are extremely outgoing, which I like. In the northern countries we are much more introverted. Here in New York, we are overwhelmed by this outgoingness. It’s an extremely social place and people are very open. New Yorkers are very into introducing people to each other and that is very different than where I come from. In Scandinavia we have a general mentality where people are very in tune with the same things but there’s no real class system or anything like that. So that’s very different too. Here, you have an enormous difference in how people live. And their viewpoints and mentalities are so radically different.
What were your initial impressions of the city?
The first time here was in 1990. I was very, very young and it was me and my boyfriend. We just went out to the Sound Factory and Disco 2000 and it was quite funny. One of the first people I met in New York was Michael Alig, of all people. So my impression was it was just so much fun. The nightlife was very different back then and I thought it was super exciting with all the club kids and the music. All that blew me away.
Why did you choose the Four Seasons Restaurant as the location for the party?
It’s just such a beautiful, timeless, elegant, chic restaurant. For me, Manhattan is a man. It’s not a woman. It has these erections of skyscrapers. And this place is so masculine. It’s a bit corporate. And I think that’s very New York. I also think it’s one of the most stunning places in the world.
The issue ($15) is available at Acne Soho, 33 Greene Street, NYC.