Acne Studios RTW Fall 2021

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Call it the high-brow alternative to sweatpants. For his fall collection for Acne Studios, Jonny Johansson focused on wellbeing, swaddling the body in fuzzy knits, dressing-gown coats and draped dresses inspired by cozy home interiors.

“I work very close to what my life is about at the moment,” he said. “Making this comfortable, comforting, secure environment is what I want to portray with the clothing.”

But this was no reality show. Johansson views life in the time of coronavirus through a somewhat hazy lens, reflecting our wavering mental landscape after one year of unprecedented restrictions and isolation. “It was kind of this dream state that we’re walking around in,” he explained.

Acne Studios RTW Fall 2021

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Hence the stretchy proportions of his knitwear, such as a baby blue sweater dress with matching leggings, socks, mittens and scarf, which came in a matted texture evoking a well-loved cuddly toy — down to the chewed seams. Meanwhile, deconstructed cable-knit skirts sprouted loose threads, as if about to unravel.

Floral fabrics in faded hues were hand-bleached and overdyed to mimic the worn texture of home-furnishing fabrics, and loosely draped around the body like sheets. The soft silhouettes were set off by chunky footwear: cowhide boots and clogs that put a distinctly Swedish spin on comfort dressing.

In lieu of handbags, models carried artist Apollinaria Broche’s slightly unsettling ceramic dogs — a nod to those kitschy tchotchkes that are unlikely to show up in any self-respecting Instagram feed. But there was an edgier side to the collection, too, hinting at what we might want to wear once we emerge from the pandemic.

Johansson’s suggestion: Sturdy coats and pants made from distressed upcycled leather, or a black off-the-shoulder dress with oversize puff sleeves. “In that dream state or mist, you’re not coming out with a sharp elbow or a structured, super sharp look,” he reasoned.

A power suit, maybe not. But his softly padded, oversize black blazer, worn with striking shearling–lined thigh-high leather boots, felt like a nice way to ease out of the domestic fog. After all, there’s a world out there waiting to be reconquered.

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