Acne Studios’ show was not like any other this week. Held in a clinically white and bright showspace, audience members were seated in sunken hollows, or conversation pits, at sporadic intervals around the room – which contrasted with their surroundings by being seemingly upholstered in a fabric that would not feel out of place in the 1970s.
If the setting of a show is meant to reflect and hint at the collection, Acne Studios came through with an ode to an all-but-forgotten aesthetic: the 70s interior. Swathes of vintage-looking floral print made up dresses, catsuits and gloves, which were then offset with a thick-ribbed chunky and distressed knit snood. With bands of jewellery layered on top, these looks started strong and showcased the brand’s ability to flip classical aesthetics into something fresh.
This aesthetic era was also referenced in the detail: colourful pastel fringing was remnant of vintage lampshades, and one look that consisted entirely of lemon-coloured mesh. Pastels, repeating fabric print and fringing all transported Acne’s audience back to a bygone era.
However, perhaps the most striking element of the collection was the new silhouettes. One of which took the term high-waisted to a whole new level; a maxi skirt that started just below the bust, and fell to the floor. Coming in iterations of red leather, bleached denim patchworking, cream and darker denim patchworking, this style was an antidote to the dizzying rise of the Y2K low waist silhouette which has been dominating runways this season. The piece featured a paper bag style waist, and was held up with a belt.
Elsewhere, Acne gave us slinky opulence: many of the AW22 looks were form-fitting catsuits, with trailing long legs which grazed the bottom of the models’ kitten heels. The denim patchwork catsuit appeared to be crafted from offcuts of vintage denim jeans, whilst others were in deep purple and reds.
Joining the legion of brands who are using straps and distressing techniques, Acne showcased its command over form, structure and drape work. Maxi dresses swung loose, with strands cut free from the main body of the garment, and anchored by the more traditional, super-high opera gloves that they were styled with.
Mixing innocent with sensual, light with dark, Acne Studios closed its show with a pair of puff-ball dresses that seemed to undulate when the wearer walked in them. The whole show felt fluid – moving across historical and archival time periods, yet landing at a distinctly modern conclusion. In an industry where sometimes fashion shows feel more like a spectacle than reality, Acne grounded us – like name, like nature.
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