Johnny Johansson, the 39 year old Swedish designer began his career creating unisex jeans for friends and family. Now his brand, ACNE, which is the acronym for "Ambition to Create Novel Expressions," has exploded into men and women's wear, and children's toys. Johansson credits his unique style with the juxtaposition of his love of the neoclassics and the influence of the early 70's punk rock group The New York Dolls. The Dolls favored such adrogenous clothes as platform shoes and satin shirts. He has also stated that he was influenced by the rebel surf board shaper, Robin Kegel--who ironically is also influenced by the early 70's rock and punk movement.
Kegel's long board shapes and designs are known as much for their art aesthetic as for their functionality. After the tsunami in Japan, Kegel designed to one of a kind boards based on the Japanese folk hero Minamoto to be auctioned off in the relief effort. Know for his kickass take no prisoners style, Kegel caught the attention of Johansson who incorporated the colors from Kegel's skateboard and the emotional pull of the beach into his latest collection.
Johansson married playful softness with the look of crisp menswear. The clean lines of the semi-unconstructed suite, which are immaculately tailored, paired with a collarless unconventional white shirt with a drape that reminded me of chiffon.
The beach influence could really be seen in the rust and tan textured sweater featured early in the show. The design echoed the movement of sand over the dunes.
I felt of sense of de ja vu when I saw the peach suite. As with the rest of the collection the details were pristine lending the feeling of a traditional suit to an unconventional style. The collar reminded me of the sophisticated older brother of the Nehru jacket worn by the Beatles.
Soft black and white geometrics defined several of Johansson's looks. With a twist on men's coveralls, Johansson created an exquisite one piece that featured the soft black and white geometrics on the sides, but the front was black. Keeping a sophisticated masculine feel.
There was an innovative introduction of a knee length body hugging sweater reinforcing the adrogenous look that is so popular today. It will be interesting to see whether that carries over into his new retail wear collection.
Pops of aqua, coral and variegated browns populated the last portion of his show. They combined to make his designs strong and eye catching.
For the fashion conscious, one of his models carried a bag that was very fresh, combining softer and stiffer leather elements. It could become the next man bag.
Kegel's influence was seen in the muted, brown, coral suit. The colors swirled in a circular manner that is reminiscent of the beach. Although the pattern was very distinctive, the perfect construction made it work.
Also, fresh was his pairing of long tailored coats with matching short and tops. However, the men's rompers were not as effective. Although still well-made, even with the interesting jackets covering them, the models still looked as though they could be wearing diapers.
Johansson has shared his fondness for Andy Warhol's art and life, and it can be seen in the patterns and shapes of his collection. They have the irreverent genius that also marked the artist.l Wobbling around in platform shoes with matching copper colored wigs, the models clearly paid homage to The New York City Dolls as well.