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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Headline Trip

Rodarte signs with William Morris for "yet to be specified" film-related projects. Costuming a Dawn of the Dead remake? The possibilities! [WWD]

A first look at Linda Farrow’s collaboration with wunderkind Alexander Wang. The slick shades hit the runway in just a week. [Nylon]

Daisy Lowe talks about life in Williamsburg and her de rigueur jewelry line with Swarovski. [W]

Speaking of, Acne gets Crystallized at the Barbican Gallery for its spring '10 presentation. Check out the video (and, while you're at it, our Q&A with Jonny Johansson). [Style.com]

Intent on becoming the new Tyra Banks, Kate Moss is heading for the small screen. Sigh. [Vogue UK]


Daisy Lowe

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Q&A: Jonny Johansson

Not long ago Acne was a relatively unknown skinny jeans company from Sweden. Now with 16 stores internationally, phenomenal collaborations with Lanvin and jeweler Michael Zobel, and an exceptional collection for fall '09, it's ballooned into the brand that everyone is obsessed with. We caught up with founder Jonny Johansson as he vacationed with his family in Stockholm. By Kay Barron

The last year has been great for Acne. The recession has been good to you!
The recession has been good in the sense that it means I can focus on what I really like and almost "clean up" what I do. When I was in London a year ago I met an American guy who was recently bankrupt. He didn’t have any money so I took him for a drink and bought him some food. He was a vintage collector and a writer, but he is a musician, too, and he told me that even though his business is on its knees, he has never felt so creative. I think that’s inspiring. For me fashion had become too narrow. Everything had to be so fucking luxurious, and the whole creative and expressive part disappeared.

There is something intrinsically Swedish about Acne that I can’t put my finger on. Can you explain?
I am Swedish! I think that our clothing is functional and related to architecture. It is graphic, but I wouldn’t say it's minimal, which people often say it is. Maybe it's a lack of growing up with couture and extravagance. We had this plan from the start that everyone is on this journey and we know that we’re not perfect and next season we might be more or less interesting. We accept things as imperfect, we almost treasure it. I don’t think people take us too seriously.

Really, even now?
It's only clothing, you know. If you try to keep up with all the amazing and creative people you'll lose your personality, your focus and your ability to find something a little bit personal.

So there's no master plan?
Our plan is to work with people we like and admire. Acne is built on other people. I feel the spirit of everyone I work with. Now we are designing furniture, and for me it's so much fun! Few people have the luxury of trying out different disciplines. If I worked for a big house, it wouldn’t be appropriate to try out different things as there would be a heritage to respect.

Or maybe you get bored easily.
It might be a bit of that.

How do you see the company growing? You mentioned perfume earlier. Will we see that soon?
I am really interested in it, but I think those kinds of brand extensions feel very commercial, so we’re not doing perfume for now. We have lots of other projects lined up that I’m really excited about, but we are taking things slowly. I don’t want Acne to be super mega and absolutely everywhere. In the end, people will find you.

I think Acne has changed the price people expect to pay for quality.
If we’ve done that then I am very proud, especially if they are buying pieces that they are going to wear for a long time.

Do people shop differently from country to country?
In some places. New York is made up of different societies—Chelsea, Brooklyn, the Village, etc—and I don’t think we have reached all of those groups yet. But everywhere we are, we are attracting a really diverse community. That means that we are doing something right.

When is London getting its Acne store?
We’d really like to do that, but we need to find a location. A while ago we were thinking about Mount Street [in Mayfair]. But now when I go there, there doesn’t seem to be anyone walking around. Everyone is in Scott’s restaurant. That’s the only place on the street that's always busy!

You were in bands for a number of years. Do you still play guitar?
Yes, of course. Music is meditation for me. If I’m tired or really excited about something I’ll go to my cellar and play music for hours and hours.

What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m sorry, I have been listening to Metallica. I just really like their latest album. I bought a drum set and that is why I’m listening to them, to practice.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Definitely. I wish I had known more when I started. It sounds sad, but I still wish I had had a fashion education. Of course, there is strength in not coming from a fashion background, but at the same time I am missing some skills.

It’s never too late to go back to school, Jonny!
Haha! That’s just what my mother said.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our Favorite Things...

that French Vogue's Carine Roitfeld divulged to Thomas Persson and Jonny Johansson in the latest Acne Paper (issue 8, summer '09), which just launched in New York:

  • I am sorry Acne, but I don't wear jeans...However, I think that jeans is one of the most important items of clothing today and that is also why we have done an issue just about jeans.
  • I never wear miniskirts because they make me look older.
  • I am skinny, and all my girls are skinny. People think I weigh my girls in the office but I do not.
  • When I started doing all the Gucci campaigns with Tom Ford and Mario Testino we pushed so much and after that everyone coped it...A lot of girls started to shave their pussy in different ways after that so it really became a trend. Many artists played with the pictures too, so it was fun.
  • My dream is to be a strong Helmut Newton woman. For me this is the woman for Vogue. I never worked with Newton but I would have liked to because I love his humour and his idea of woman.
  • I think sometimes I need a psychiatrist just to understand what I did in my pictures. You know, I have been repetitive about eroticism. And knives...I hate knives.
  • Fantasy is better than real life. When I do a fashion shoot the girl is like an actress, this fantasy of who she is and what she is doing. Perhaps the reader only sees the clothes but for me everything has a meaning. I am a big dreamer.



  • (Read our Q&A with Thomas Persson circa the previous issue six month ago.)

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    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    Stockholm Fashion Week: Day 1

    By Haidee Findlay-Levin...

    My second visit to Stockholm for Fashion Week by Berns feels diametrically opposed to the first. I was here in the spring and happily suffered insomnia due to endless beautiful days and the midnight sun. Here I am again for the fall '09 shows, somehow suffering the insomnia again, despite very dark days that run early into long dark nights. A friend told me to pack a flashlight and slushy shoes, which I promptly ignored—evidently along with all the other incredibly well-dressed attendees at the shows.

    What is striking about fashion in Stockholm is the immediacy. It seems to go from catwalk directly to the street. People actually wear the clothes and ideas that we see on the catwalk and with the same attention to detail and accessory. These clothes are not the showpieces of Paris, which are strictly for the purpose of press. Instead they are wearable and cool enough to be worn without any need for diffusion or compromise.

    Shows began in the early afternoon, which gave me time to pop into the newly enlarged and refurbished Acne store and snap up one of the Acne/Lanvin denim dresses I've been waiting months to get. In fact it was a bit of an Acne day. First, I had been busily transcribing an interview I'm writing for the next issue of Acne Paper, then immediately ran into the lovely Anja Cronberg, the magazine's Features Editor, who became my show companion for the rest of the day—and dinner companion, along with two close photographer friends of mine, Martin Liddell and Fredrik Stogkvist.

    Acne opted for a presentation at Millesgarden, on one of the islands on the other side of town. The artist's house was filled with old statues, among which models on pedestals were scattered. In the first room we saw the pre-fall collection, while in the main room the full fall collection for both men and women was exhibited. The pre-collection was certainly cool, with rubber-soled wedge sneakers, bold copper earrings and silver neck cuffs. I also loved the denim: over-dyed pale-green baggy jeans, rolled up and worn with a great 1950’s couture-style short-sleeved tweed coat—one of those fashion oxymorons that somehow appeal to me.


    Acne men's

    A young Bob Dylan, transported from 60’s America to a contemporary unidentified European metropolis, apparently inspired Acne's menswear for fall. There was the contradiction of printed velvets layered with chunky hand-knits, the odd Lurex scarf and tone-on-tone solids in shades of burgundy with plum, cobalt blue with indigo and grass green with sapphire. The style was certainly folksy, but the Bohemian look was simultaneously elegant. I particularly loved a really squashed suede hat flopped over the eye of its wearer, as well as a series of tightly crocheted hats in much the same floppy style, which pretty much hid the faces of the young boys. The square-toe boots in two-tone leather and suede came complete with one-inch wide zippers and crepe-wedge soles.

    But it was seeing the women's collection that made my trip to Stockholm already worthwhile, confirming all the sensibilities I have been feeling for a while. The collection was inspired by the many visits made by Acne‘s creative director Jonny Johansson to Berlin, for its burgeoning art scene, and the flea markets of Paris' Clignancourt. The 60's look of the girls struck me as part Nico and part Joan Baez, by way of early Pierre Cardin. Old tapestry-style paisley fabrics never looked crusty but rather as if they were wound directly off the bolt into clean tubular shaped tunics and mini-skirts. Worn over clear plastic, skinny trousers looked like clear stockings tucked into mirror-heeled wedge boots and massive tapestry-wedged shoes.


    Acne women's

    But it was the contrast of these cool clothes worn with incredible large precious jewelry that completely took my breath away. A while back, Jonny had fallen in love with the image of an elderly man he had seen sitting in Café Flore who had proudly worn enormous rings on every finger. This led to an incredible collaboration with a German jewelry designer and artist, Michael Zobel, the father of one of the Acne designers. Each one-of-a-kind piece was enormous, from the multiple rings worn on both hands to a huge round mauve jade brooch, worn like a pin on a leather biker vest.

    Among Acne's jewelry offerings was a large, low-slung circular silver pendant with a cut-out square, which was replaced with a gold bar, volcanic glass and floating obsidian. Wrist cuffs were made from hammered gold that had been melted over unpolished silver, and then combined with black diamonds and rough wood from the Sahara. Others, in rose gold and platinum were emblazoned with rough coral, aquamarine and Madagascar tourmaline. A lollypop-sized emerald on an 18-kt gold ring sat next to a flying saucer of hematite and oriental pearls. These sculptural combinations of precious stones, hard wood and metals easily looked tribal, but in Zobel’s hands, the result was more experimental 70’s modernist.

    The other really impressive show of the day was Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair. The design duo are expert cutters, like no other in Stockholm—in much the same way Junya Watanabe is in Tokyo. This season they were drawn to their theatrical side. They used their 3-D technique of cutting fabric, while drawing inspiration from Picasso’s Guitar and Girl with a Mandolin, to construct outfits in a soft cubist manner. The collection opened with total black and then moved into a series of contrasting dogtooth tweeds and small checks in purples, browns and eventually beiges, resulting in an undefined color. The complexity of some of these forms, further combined with wide plissé, were clearly cubist in inspiration. While other garments, particularly men's, relied more on the loose draping and deft wrapping of fabric around the body, in the way of the artist Christo. A variety of clown-like cropped trousers, complete with baggy knees and bustle were often held up by suspenders and then combined with a jaunty hat, paisley or polka-dot bowties, handkerchiefs and the odd silk scarf. When viewed from a distance, they seemed to grow out of a shirt collar or jacket pocket to create the illusion of seamlessness.


    Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair

    Meanwhile, design teams such as The Local Firm tapped into a very prevalent gothic, androgynous street sensibility, where the distinction between the layering of cool men's and women's wear was hardly noticeable. Perhaps it was the recent success of the Swedish film “Let the Right One In” that has inspired this vampire sensibility, particularly evident in Carin Wester’s collection of men’s trousers, high-waisted and perfectly pleated, ending in a slightly low crotch then tapering to a cuff and stirrup that ran neatly over the shoe. These were mostly worn shirtless, with a long jacket or cardigan, exposing an almost bloodless white skin to the infinite possibilities of a long winter night in Sweden.

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