Getting Acne

Swedish denim-loving label present their A/W 2010 womenswear show in London's east end Photography by Morgan O'Donovan Text by Flora Yin-Wong

Using the acronym 'Ambition to Create Novel Expressions' for its name, Acne has taken the last few years to establish itself as a forward-thinking label merging typical Swedish aesthetics and urban deconstructed styles. Showing in East London last night, their A/W '10 show designed by Charles Koroly saw ethereal looking models adorned with metallic details (courtesy of Husam El Odeh) strutting to an eerie soundtrack creating an otherwordly atmosphere. With a mysterious and endlessly long sand-coloured curtain draped along the stage, spotlights shone through behind exaggerating the lengths of the models' shadows, and ending with a bang, thousands of black hand-painted flowers cascaded down from the warehouse's windchutes.
Facing the themes of 'low tech vs high tech', or 'luxe and destroyed', the show entitled 'Svart Snö' (Black Snow) used fabrics like draped silks, textural suede, mesh, wool, and luxurious sheepskin to create a look that juxtaposed the strongest metallic leathers and tough sculptural fur boots against the soft and subtle. Founder and creative director Jonny Johansson says of the collection: “My sons are completely obsessed with Star Wars and I have to watch and live it day after day, so for this season I created an aesthetic based around Star Wars' The Clone Wars. I am not doing it because I have a choice; it has just completely penetrated my world. It is also a collection that continues from last season and an exploration of spirituality and astronomy from the show’s makeup direction to the long, floaty and easy silhouette." Hi Jonny, So are you happy with the way the show went? We heard the flowers were all hand-painted! Jonny Johansson: Yeah we had to do that all by hand! Sometimes we get really worried before the show, but it all went really smoothly today. So the new collection was quite tough, deconstructed, and almost alien-like... what were the themes that inspired this line? Jonny Johansson: I based it lightly on Clone Wars, you know from Star Wars, the cartoon and the droids. I really like the stupid droids there. Aside from the varied fabrics used today, do you still consider Acne as a jeans label? Jonny Johansson: It's never really been a jeans label, although denim is the core for us - and for fashion. For me I think it all started in 1996, and to consider what is 'current' you have to go back to the start, and therefore what is that? Jeans. Considering jeans are such a wardrobe staple and with so many denim labels out there, what does it mean to Acne? Jonny Johansson: To me it's like a canvas, clean and simple. It's about proportion rather than decoration. You know it's like linen, it's really natural and like... personal. Look at mine, like the cloth on my right knee always goes because I'm on that knee dressing my boys! So you've just done a furniture line, as well as having your bi-annual Acne Paper, what is it all about and where do you hope to take the label next? Jonny Johansson: Well it's my pride, the paper, it's all about working on it together, bringing things back together rather than anything else.

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