Acne Studios Spring 2019 Ready-To-Wear
Long is the list of fashion designers who have created costumes for dance or theatrical performances. When a choreographer friend in Stockholm approached Jonny Johansson with a similar proposal, the Acne Studios cofounder and creative director recalled that he contemplated the idea before ultimately declining. How come? “First of all, I just know fashion; and second, I didn’t want to ruin his show.” Whatever the reasons, his research wasn’t for naught, as it turns out that the dancer-as-muse proved a dynamic fit for the Acne Studios aesthetic.
Even without knowing that the brand’s Instagram had been taken over by Alice Renavand, a principal dancer from the Paris Opera Ballet, the influence was clear from the start: sheer and stretchy materials as a base for fluid layers or fitted leather bodices; bodysuits visible under jackets; and shoes that hybridized the familiar Acne babouches with a ballet slipper. All that graceful balletic vernacular was constantly exposed to a contemporary edit—and vice versa. See the scooped neckline of a top trimmed in macramé lace that had a whiff of Dégas’s Petite Danseuse, or the red leather bootleg pants that appeared très Acne from the front while yielding ribbed leggings down the back. Things turned especially modern and meta through the placement of decades-old Merce Cunningham posters and dancer photos reduced to patches and placed onto ample outerwear or a linen jumpsuit as though fragmented scrapbooks. And of course, it was impossible to miss the many signs of Swan Lake, whether as a swirling jacquard of swans or the birds as large crystal and paillette embroideries. A retro New York City Ballet T-shirt embellished with a pretty knit neckline felt emblematic of the entire inspirational exercise—something that a dancer takes from her closet and gives her own creative twist. The accessories—bandana bags, chain accessories loaded with charms, and futuristic sneaker sandals—seemed appropriated from her everyday look, dialed up with desirable edge.
Postshow, Johansson said he envisioned the lineup as four acts: rehearsal, onstage, off-duty, and evening. This last grouping consisted of elegant, allover looks featuring the Palais Garnier plus old stage illustrations as an architectural spin on toile de Jouy. They, along with the tuxedo and black dress, bode well for what he mentioned as an interest to push the formal register going forward.
By now, it should be pretty obvious that this was a diverse collection with excellent, inclusive styling; unlike the usual ballet tropes, there was no expectation of being 16 and a size zero. For every gal who falls for the furry black swan slippers, there will be an Isabelle Huppert–type woman (the estimable actress was seated next to this reviewer), already singling out certain sophisticated looks that would be worthy of any stage.