PARIS, France — “Fashion isn’t very honest,” Jonny Johansson said after the Acne show. “But to me honesty is important.” In the case of the brand’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, honesty meant starting with something personal, something that had actually happened to Johansson (as opposed to something imagined or trendy).
Here’s the story: A guy who is working at Acne was wearing a Cramps t-shirt one day and it provoked a reaction that sent Johansson back to his early years at Acne, when he was looking for vintage clothes in New York and ran into former Cramps guitarist Kid Congo Powers. It got him thinking about the garage punk band’s expressive stage energy and the interplay between husband and wife duo Lux Interior and Poison Ivy in particular. The raw power Johansson could see in their performances was what he wanted Acne to capture this season.
The incredibly low-cut trousers were straight from the Lux Interior wardrobe and Poison Ivy’s love for leopard spots was seen aplenty, but otherwise the references were more subtle, based on The Cramps as a mood more than a look.
There were some huge trousers that echoed what we saw from Rick Owens just a couple of days ago and perhaps that’s why one could read the quilted jackets, coats and tops as organic, almost tumorous growths. (In reality they were the lining of biker jackets turned inside out.) At the same time, vinyl gave some looks a slightly raunchy feel, especially as a visible “panty line” was imprinted on the trousers. Hosiery seemed to be the inspiration for both boots and sleeves in some of the looks. It made for quite a sexual collection, which was fitting as The Cramps often dealt with sex.
One did have to wonder about a few things, though, like open, rectangular sandals for Autumn/Winter – perhaps they were snow shoes? – and a red, bulbous quilted bolero. It was the more challenging pieces that came closer to hitting the right spot, like the oversized boiler suits in leather bonded with metal as to give them permanent crinkles or boiled tweed. Some of the shiny striped looks came too close to Prada's Spring/Summer 2016 collection.
Johansson revealed that he had tried everything to get Poison Ivy to come to the show, but despite going through both lawyers and neighbours, her current hatred for anything Cramps made her refusal definitive. “So I didn’t get the love I wanted,” Johansson said. It’s a hard lesson, but sometimes honesty can hurt.