Voluminous yet shaped silhouettes, soft and worn fabrics, contrasting moments of sweetness and elegant refinement; this collection is a visual evolution moving from a dreamscape into an awakened reality.
“I was thinking about what happens when we emerge from isolation, the same but also somehow different. This collection is a dreamscape that begins with soft pastel colours, before awakening into monochromatic clarity, which is an ode to the white or black clothes worn for rituals in our life cycle, like weddings and funerals.” says Jonny Johansson, creative director of Acne Studios.
Oversized wrap coats in floral printed wool are like dressing gowns seen out of the house, the oversized buckle heightening the volume play. Knits have the effect of a long-loved teddy bear, the hems left ragged and cardigan buttonings purposefully off-kilter. Pyjamas have been handbleached and overdyed, appearing well-worn. Leather trenches and jackets have brushed seams, creating a denim-like aesthetic; an ode the brand’s roots. Knits, robes and dresses are key to the collection, with a focus on wrapping, draping and ruching. Colours travel from floral pastels and pale shades, through neutrals, before arriving at monochromatic blacks and whites.
Draping is a reoccurring design feature. A long-sleeved linen dress has panels of rib jersey running down both sides, from cuff to hem. Some garments are voluminous with sudden sinching at the waist. Meanwhile, another linen dress hugs the body more tightly with fabric gaps to reveal the undergarment. The body is mostly covered, but there are moments of emergence, which is evidence of the experimental draping throughout the collection. Oversized and openstructure cable knits show the skin beneath, in either tops or skirts, followed by monochromatic looks which mirror each other: a long-sleeve white dress in a fine and supple leather, buttoned from rollneck to hem with open extended cuffs; a black sleeveless gown in viscose with a hidden internal construction. Silk jackets in black or white are lightly padded and effortlessly oversized.
Ceramic animals by artist, Apollinaria Broche are carried like bags, as if an imaginary friend from childhood. Miniature versions appear attached to chokers or earrings. Shearling hats cocoon the head, while chunky handknitted mittens add to the homespun feeling. Collapsible suede bags are in geometric shapes, such as boxes and flat circles. There’s also a structured handbag is distorted into a new warped shape. Clog boots are cut from cowhide, while leather boots have seams on the outside, both thigh-high and ankle. Leather pumps have a high stiletto heel, while strappy sandals are worn over thick socks for full comfort.
The Women’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection will be available in all Acne Studios stores and on acnestudios.com.
Q&As with Jonny Johansson, creative director of Acne Studios
Can you tell us about the new collection?
Like everyone, we’ve made this collection in isolation, living a very different life to what seems normal to us. Living in isolation can often feel like a dreamscape and I wanted to express that in this collection. I was also thinking about what happens when we emerge and re-enter the world and how we are the same, but yet we are different.
How does this translate to the pieces?
The collection is centred around wrapping and draping, as well as padding and comforting knits. Alongside these, there are moments of elegance and also structure, to give this sense of emerging from the dreamscape. The collection begins with soft and pastel colours, before transitioning into monochromatic clarity. Talk us through the opening looks. We start with an oversized wrap coat that’s like a dressing gown worn out of the house. It has this big volume but is soft and flowing in wool that’s printed with small flowers. The following looks are in textured knit that’s like a worn teddy bear. There’s a cardigan and pants, the cardigan buttoning purposefully off as if it’s been thrown on, and then a long blue sweater dress. Both have destroyed hems as if from well-loved fabrics. All these pieces came from this idea of dreamscape.
What about the wrapping in the collection?
I wanted there to be lots of fabric and for that fabric to be enveloping and comforting. I also wanted the wrapping to be considered and elevated. Nothing is overly finished; nothing is trying to be perfect. It’s like a series of experiments on how to wrap fabric on the body. Sometimes the result is completely covering the body, and at other times it is as if the wrapping is half-finished, with garments underneath revealed.
Can you tell us about the balance between sweetness and elegance?
I wanted there to be an almost kitsch feeling in the collection, which comes from the little floral prints and also the ceramic animals that are either carried, or are on jewellery. These give that feeling of dreamscape, of items in the home that become so familiar they turn up in your dreams in unexpected ways. These contrast with gowns that are elegant without the formality, like a draped gown with a caped back, that could also appear in the same dream.
Can you talk us through the monochromatic ending?
When we were designing the collection, we were actually thinking of weddings and funerals and the white or black clothes worn for rituals in our life cycle. As the collection evolved, we realised these pieces had a clarity to them, as if you were awakening from the dreamscape. When we get to the very end, the monochromatic looks mirror each other, like a pair of silk jackets that are lightly padded, one in black, the other white, or jersey dresses with boxy, exaggerated sleeves.
What about the accessories in the collection?
I like how the ceramics held in the hand are almost like the imaginary friends you had as a kid. They also look great in miniature on chokers. Shearling hats are super cosy, as are the handknitted mittens. The cowhide clog boots add to the dreamscape feeling, and so too do the structured bags, that are warped and distorted, like in a dream.