Acne Studios Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear Collection

The staging for the Acne Studios show began as an elevated ledge that followed the curved wall of a gallery within the Palais de Tokyo. Once models reached the end, they descended a few steps to arrive at the main runway. Not all seats had the full view, but the setup was significant as far as supporting Jonny Johansson’s concept this season—essentially, high fashion from the perspective of young people. “All the power dressing that I consider iconic womenswear, maybe they are attracted to it too but in a different way,” he explained backstage. And thus, on high and at a distance, the looks projected sharply defined silhouettes and an attitude to match; up close they revealed subversions that were destabilizing yet persuasive.

Seemingly oversize pants took on new form when cinched at the waist and tucked into slouch socks; equally standout were the coats that remained beautifully rounded in the shoulders and sleeves while boasting buttons down the back. A sophisticated damask in bright colors became as bold a statement as any streetwear signaling. Experiments in draping, smocking, and ruching dialed up the sex appeal of certain dresses in a way that felt unfamiliar to Acne Studios but was certainly not unwelcome.

Carry this thought through to the rectangle bras and hand-draped nylon stockings—their very visibility, whether under a leather jacket or from the slit of a dress, would determine those who would identify with a look versus others who might feel intimidated by it. But Johansson suggested he’s no longer courting youth, simply curious to occupy their headspace. “I think I’ve changed, and now I’m more interested in the academic side, like what time does to fashion.” As in? A Helmut Newton photograph, he replied, where a detail as seemingly minor as a pair of pumps has the capacity to register as relevant all over again, or maybe even for the first time, depending on perspective. Pumps, needless to say, were added to this collection—and amidst the irregularly shaped trussed boots, they held the power.