Negotiating the space around (and between) “menswear” and “womenswear” is nothing new in fashion. What is new, however, is the social context in which that negotiation has been revived. This season JW Anderson, Dolce & Gabbana, and Saint Laurent have all already thrillingly re-engaged in the conversation, this time in front of an emerging generation for which the traditional binary constructs of sex and gender are all up for review, if not already dismissed as hopelessly unfit for purpose.
Over at Acne Studios, creative director Jonny Johansson took a typically ironic approach to subverting the biological differences that both define and confine us societally. “I’ve got a lot of masculine baggage,” deadpanned the designer: “so I wanted to explore something that was as masculine as possible.” In fact the collection offered a parodically fabulous version of the traditional in order to lampoon its absurdities, offering wearable ways to get changed.
The collection was shot in that ultimate crucible of raw masculinity, a cave. But Johansson’s primitives favored a fresh type of pelt. Oversized strapped and battered jacquard denims (he!) played below woven crop tops (she!) and biker pants motored alongside stretchy tops. There was a pastel soccer shirt worn beneath a bleach splattered ’80s sports blouson. Soccer boots were transformed into heels, worn with a spiraling Aran knit tube dress. “I feel very comfortable with the masculine aesthetic, but not with masculinity itself,” said Johansson. This was an exercise in unconventional comfort designed for those who defy convention.
Read More: Acne Studios Fall 2023 Menswear Collection