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.

footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

    £28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

    C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

    Clinical Negligence Solicitor

    Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

    Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

    £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone