From Coco Chanel to Christian Lacroix, designers’ penchant for designing costumes for ballet goes way back.
Acne Studios’ Jonny Johansson, for his part, when approached by a young choreographer after attending one of his dance productions at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, politely declined when asked to collaborate on a project.
But the designer, while mulling it over, said he started doing some research and “couldn’t get it out of my system.” He processed it here for spring, presenting his take on “the life of a dancer” in four acts. “I didn’t do what I would have done for [the choreographer], but I did do things that I found on the way,” he said backstage.
The collection was one of his strongest yet. Johansson filtered the dance theme through the Seventies mood he’s been exploring of late, with the peak-collared shirts, crafty crochet trims, and weird palette clashing pale green, rust, red and toffee.
Movement was the connecting thread. The designer sent out extralong, skinny pants in a pleated fabric that gathered at the ankles like legwarmers. Minimalist leather pants and trousers with paper-bag waists were worn with leotards, while long-sleeved jersey dresses and seamless knitted bodysuits went under sheer slipdresses.
A fluid coral suit worn with a turquoise shirt was even cut from a Lycra-style fabric typically used for leotards.
The second act — focused on romantic linen looks with folkloric detailing, including dresses and jumpsuits — incorporated patches based on old Merce Cunningham and Ballets Russes posters from the Forties that Johansson had to “go through fire” to obtain the rights to.
Collapsing the worlds of opera and dance together, he even experimented with tongue-in-cheek gala eveningwear, from jacquard tops depicting theater stages — curtains raised — to fun baroque brocade suits with swan prints and long coats and shirtdresses in toile de Jouy-style fabrics with prints based on drawings of old opera houses.
Meanwhile, the designer revealed that Acne Studios this fall will be unveiling a new denim project based on “the American heritage we have in Sweden,” as well as the first of “a lot of capsule ideas that have been cooking,” in collaboration with a yet-to-be-unveiled entity.