by LUKE LEITCH
Jonny Johansson, creative director of Acne, masterminded a strange and interesting game of musical chairs in the romantically ravaged interior of the Lycée Charlemagne. Every 60 seconds or so, the PA would stop pumping and his models would get up and pull their metal-legged chairs here and there across the floor before sitting down again once the tunes resumed.
At first sight they appeared to be wearing tents, or at least something tentatively tent-ish of aspect, and that proved to be the case. Said Johansson: “It’s very simple. It’s about the emptiness of the Swedish summer . . . I think it’s quite romantic in a way. I wanted to have romance in a show but without the regular runway thing.”
We walked down the hall between them, adjusting conversational volume in sync with the DJ, as Johansson delivered an exegesis of the huge A-line ponchos that were the defining garment of the collection. “They are inspired by tents, old-fashioned tents,” he said. The silver eyelets pressed in at the top of the spine were peg-ready, and the variously laminated, plasticized and bonded fabrics sometimes had the realistic look and feel of well-used tarp. Others were shiny and came in shirting stripes. They flared out widely from the body, tentlike, of course, with particular volume at the back. Completing the campsite capsule was a selection of shoes that ran from coated Chelsea boots to surf booties to rubberized Mary Janes. Zip-away techno jersey pants and shorts in plain color provided cover. Vests and tops in tablecloth checks and stringy bouclé, plus woven hemp shirts and tees (with matching shorts) in a neutral wheaty tone delivered texture. One especially striking knitted vest came with hand-painted flecks of green and orange fluoro, which competed winningly with the oaty texture of the yarn. Nostalgic, avant-garde, and Swedish, this was Acne all over.