Given the state of the world today, who can blame Jonny Johansson for wanting to escape into nature?

Acne’s creative director tapped set designer Shona Heath to transform his show venue in Paris into a twisted fantasy forest, complete with glinting black gravel, poison ivy and giant crochet and cellophane plants – think Venus flytraps on acid. 

Back in 2020, Johansson was among the first to embrace the potential of AI-generated fashion design. Now he’s espousing the natural world, which in Sweden is always lurking around the corner. 

“I felt that there’s been a lot of fashion inspired by technology and all these tech things, so I just wanted to do something else,” he said backstage. “I’m a little bit bored with all this technology.”

It made for a craft-intensive collection, with looks ranging from woodland-fairy slip dresses patchworked together from crinkled fabric leaves, to oversized suits and coats that looked like they were dug from the undergrowth.

Laced leather leggings were painted to resemble tree bark or cracked earth, while felted fabrics mimicked the texture of moss. Sturdy protective layers, fit for Sweden’s endless winter, contrasted with wispy gowns in brightly colored velvet dévoré, or shredded knit dresses dotted with crochet flowers.  

There was a hallucinatory quality to these pagan ravers, accentuated by a model whose torso was painted with an elaborate landscape. Office-friendly, it wasn’t. But that was precisely the point.

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