The hot spot for cool customers: Swedish label Acne

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Fashion insiders love the hip Swedish label Acne – and now it’s opening a store over here. About time too, says Harriet Walker

The fashion set is afflicted by Acne at the moment: it’s all over their backs, their feet, even their coffee tables. If you don’t have any yourself yet, now’s the time to scratch the itch.

Swedish denim label Acne – it stands for Ambition to Create Novel Expressions – is the latest coup de foudre of the fashion world, an understated, under-the-radar brand that offers all the ingredients necessary for a sleek and minimal, slightly grungy, modern wardrobe. And it’s opening its largest store in London this week, a concept ‘studio’ over four floors, featuring clothing, furniture, a roof terrace, gallery and garden. “Acne has flourished on an upturn in taste for cool urbanwear, inspired in part by what models and stylists wear off-duty,” says Harriet Quick, fashion features director at Vogue.

“The design doesn’t try too hard, yet it is still trend-savvy, especially the dresses and tailoring. And there’s a deconstructed grunge element that feels right for now.” That element manifests itself in oversized aviator jackets, mannish blazers and slub vests worn with the tightest of leather leggings and jeans in all shapes and sizes, from skinny crops to carrot-shaped peg denim created for French house Lanvin last year. “If I could design something that people can have a long-term relationship with, I would be very happy,” says founder Jonny Johansson. “I want to design a garment that makes you feel stronger and more self-confident.”

Denim has been the DNA of the label since its inception in 1996, when Johansson and three friends formed a charmingly Swedish collective and gave away 100 pairs of handmade jeans to a select group of acquaintances. Stockholm boutiques were soon eager to stock the signature red-stitched unisex jeans. Having now branched out into rather prettier floral dresses, luxuriant sheepskin coats and furs and fashionably fierce wedge boots, the range never strays too far from its streetwear aesthetic, with this summer’s elegantly dressed-down jersey maxiskirts at the top of many fashion editors’ wish lists.

“It’s a collection of intriguing surprises brought together by people with a frame of reference outside mainstream fashion,” says Penny Martin, editor in chief of The Gentlewoman. “I’m forever asking people what’s that quirky item they’re wearing, and it’s always Acne.” The label’s trademark of quiet quirk is inherently Scandinavian, and it’s an aesthetic that has gained quite a bit of momentum in recent seasons – graphic, sharp tailoring and body-conscious, sci-fi pieces that are subdued without being too subtle. Acne’s autumn/winter collection this year was inspired by Star Wars, and the look is a suitable mixture of intergalactic and grunge, with patchwork fur jackets worn with dull-gold dhoti trousers and warped-looking leather pieces layered like hides over mesh and cotton vests.

But for those who want to invest in modern basics, Acne’s vast range of design-heavy separates will perk up a tired repertoire. “I come back every season and usually find something I love,” says Vogue’s executive fashion editor Emily Zak.

“It more than fill gaps in your wardrobe. Sometimes a brand captures a mood – Acne is more than a fashion brand, at a time when we all want more from fashion.” Extras come in the form of a newly launched furniture range, which will be available from the new store, and the quarterly magazine, Acne Paper, a high-end and painfully hip collection of articles and shoots from some of the biggest names in fashion. Contributors have included Carine Roitfeld, editor of French Vogue, photographer Lord Snowdon and designer Azzedine Alaïa.

“The London shop will provide a quasi-cultural platform,” says Quick, “with furniture and artisan artefacts among the collections. These elements elevate Acne from being just another jeans label.” It certainly does, thanks to a level of complexity and idiosyncrasy in the pieces that renders them recognisable without being ubiquitous. Last season’s armour jeans, with C-3POesque metallic panels running down the front of each leg were spotted on Kylie Minogue, while the label’s aviator jackets caused such a stir that the high street rushed to produce its own versions. “I focus on designing clothes that give good energy to the wearer,” says Johansson. “Our view on fashion is playful and relaxed.” Acne’s fine balance of fashion and nonchalance is calibrated just so. Little wonder then that Acne has got under the fashion pack’s skin.

Acne London Studio opens Thursday at 13 Dover St, W1. Acnestudios.com

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Sport
football
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

    Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

    Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

    Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

    £15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

    Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us