‘MUSIC’, blared the first slogan t-shirt, tucked into a floor-sweeping kilt of a cotton skirt at Acne’s spring summer 2013 show. ‘NEW’, insisted the next, followed shortly by ‘COLLAGE’.
The cult Swedish brand’s latest London Fashion Week outing proved nothing less than a statement of principles, with a little bit of kicky country-western flair thrown in.
It started with that message about music—one of the Acne team’s most important influences, according to Jonny Johansson’s show notes. The ‘collage’ of references that followed embraced jockeys (bicolour jackets and trousers), cowgirls (latex Stetson hats) and city-slicker chic (erm, everything else).
That’s the great thing about Acne: one moment you’re looking at a billowing parachute of a dress; the next, an intelligently sexy outfit of a fitted leather waistcoat over a skirt with a thigh-high split.
Motifs that showed up repeatedly included leather and buckles. The former, abundant and covetable, was best in two-tone trousers with a baby kick flare, and a boxy grass-green jacket with black and cream banded sleeves.
Buckles, meanwhile, cut graphic horizontals across calves, waists, hips, thighs and arms. They sent different messages depending on placement: kilty across the hips of long skirts, bondage-y on leather trousers, asylum-like on straitjacket-esque gilets.
The most eye-catching buckles strapped up the leg in the statement shoe of the season. A little like Swedish Hasbeens on steroids, they featured straps and buckles extending up the calves (11 times from top to toe, according to the NYT) and felt like a ‘so uncool it’s cool’ retort to years of studded gladiator sandals.
‘It was definitely a show that challenged you. I liked that,’ one editor said when we were still discussing what it all meant fifteen minutes later.
But far be it from Johannson to leave us mulling things over too intently. He’s also there to make us smile. So which song did he select to wrap up his madcap music-box whirl of a fashion show? 'Dancing Queen'. As in Swedish supergroup Abba’s good times anthem, spliced, diced and reinterpreted for a more rocking, discerning crowd. Because that’s Acne to a (slogan) tee, isn’t it?