Acne Gets Spirtualised

Jonny Johansson collaborates with Husam El Odeh, Katerina Jebb and Swarovski for Acne’s S/S 10 collection presented last night at Barbican’s Curve Gallery.

Text by Susie Bubble

Last night, it was the first time that Acne presented in a space that was shrouded in such darkness. The only light glinting at you was from Katerina Jebb’s layers of scanned-in moving footage of CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski’s Solitaire gem, projected onto the dark walkway along Barbican’s Curve Gallery, made slightly sinister with Satie’s Gnossienne nr.4 tinkling away on the piano. Jonny Johansson, Acne’s founder and creative director took S/S10 as an opportunity to collaborate with people that he genuinely admired and take risks that grow with each Acne collection as the concept and designs become even more personal to him.

Working with Jebb on the film stemmed from Johansson’s love of her early work in The Face. Working with CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements made sense this season as the collection was themed around spirituality and in the brand’s first collaboration with the sparkle masters, Johansson decorated the clothes with an unexpected sparseness, adorning acupuncture pressure points of the body with small clusters of crystals. Then finally, further shiny focal points were created with Husam el Odeh’s silverware that toughens up denim pieces, glasses, hats and bags.
We speak to Johansson about what he does to feel spirtiualised and how Acne has evolved over the years.

You’ve got quite a lot of collaborations going on for this collection like with Husam el Odeh and Swarovski, how did you manage to tie all of that in together?
Jonny Johansson:
It’s about friends, from people I meet. I usually like it to be close to me in a way. You obviously work with fashion every 6 months and you have to show new ideas. I’m very open to work with people, and I'm not into collaboration for collaboration's sake. I’m not into co-branding but I do know my creativity’s limited.
When I started I wanted it to be like a creative factory, I think my life has been about experiences and other people’s experiences, and I think that’s how I see it. For me its very natural and I like eclecticism a lot, where you take lot of things that don’t belong to the other and make them belong.

With Swarovski, there’s some very obvious things that people tend to do, but you’ve used them in quite a sparse and subtle way. What prompted you to do that?
Jonny Johansson:
It’s been a long trip, but for me it was about the stars, and the sky, the meditative world and all that…
I like to place the small stars on the whole looks rather than the clothing, I was challenged by making it not luxury but making it spiritualised, making it fragile, beautiful and personal.

What do you do to get spiritualised?
Jonny Johansson:
I’m very into music, and I come from a musical background when I play music I feel like I can feel the spirits close to me. I play guitar, I sing and my sister is a music teacher… Chet Baker is a hero to me. Sometimes when I’m playing or if I have a fantastic song going on or whatever, it’s very meditative for me, very spiritual.

How do you think Acne’s aesthetic has changed over the years, as every collection seems like a shift or a pull in a different direction?
Jonny Johansson:
That’s what fashion’s about, that’s how I see it today. To me it’s the experience of exploring, about having fun and the designer you build yourself into. I’m from that generation that likes change and a challenge, if you don’t do things that are very close to yourself, I think you start losing what’s important.

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