Acne Studios’ AW21 Collection Is As Playful As Ever

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Acne Studios’ AW21 Collection Is As Playful As Ever

Words by Ms Fedora Abu

12 October 2021

Mr Jonny Johansson, creative director and co-founder of Acne Studios, could justifiably lay claim to at least two cultural phenomena. The first, the inescapable, seemingly interminable trend that is millennial pink, which many credit to the brand’s signature shopping bags. The second, the very notion of Scandinavian style. Stockholm today may be home to more up-and-coming menswear labels than we can (quite literally) keep stock of, but it was arguably Acne Studios’ emergence in the late 1990s that laid the groundwork for its status as a modern fashion capital.

If you were to cast your eye over the brand’s most recent collections, you’d discover that it is not so much a flag-bearer for the pared-back, achingly tasteful designs that have come to characterise the Scandi aesthetic as one of the most forward-thinking, boundary-pushing names in luxury. And truth be told, there’s always been something a bit punk about Acne Studios, right down to its subversive choice of moniker. (Yes, it may stand for Ambition to Create Novel Expressions, but come on – they knew what they were doing.) This season, the label stays true to that irreverent spirit with an array of offbeat yet wearable pieces that don’t take themselves too seriously. Below, we’ve picked out a dozen of our favourites.

We are secretly rather thrilled about the dip in temperature because it gives us an excuse to swaddle ourselves in as many layers as possible. For those not quite so enthusiastic, we’re prescribing this delightfully fuzzy purple scarf, which is spun from a softer-than-soft blend of wool, mohair and alpaca and is guaranteed to lift your mood.

Acne Studios can count itself among Sweden’s most famous exports, only a few rungs down from affordable flat-pack furniture and infectious 1970s disco-pop. Just in case you need reminding of the label’s Nordic roots, this landscape-inspired crew-neck jacquard jumper comes embroidered with a blue and yellow flag to hammer the message home.

Whether or not track pants should be worn beyond the judgment-free confines of your own home has been an ongoing subject of debate at MR PORTER post-lockdown. The answer boils down to personal preference, but perhaps the question we should really be asking is: what kind of track pants are we talking about? In this case, we think the petrol-blue colour and contrasting lilac zips make this particular pair deserving of an audience.

The humble sweater vest is enjoying a moment in menswear right now. Its most fervent ambassador is none other than knitwear icon and modern-day dandy Mr Harry Styles, who would no doubt would approve of the retro-style polka dots on this kitsch yet cool number.

At first glance, it appears this timeless black leather biker jacket – one of the brand’s bestsellers for good reason – has had its sleeves artfully splattered with paint in the style of Mr Jackson Pollock. Those splodges merely hint to the hand-painted cosmic masterpiece that awaits on the reverse.

There’s very little that surprises us these days, but we’ve never seen anything quite like these hand-stitched patchwork boots. They’re crafted from an unprocessed suede – hence the rugged, caveman-like quality – and are a sure-fire way to inject a dash of the unexpected into an otherwise plain get-up.

A grey double-breasted pinstripe suit jacket is exactly the sort of piece one would be keen to cast off come Friday afternoon. Not this one, though. The oversized fit and slouchy silhouette lend it an ease that makes it ideal for throwing over a T-shirt and jeans at the weekend.

If you’re the guy whose casual wardrobe consists of blue jeans and not much more, then may we present this unintimidating alternative? Off-white trousers in a cotton canvas may not be the most orthodox choice for the colder months, but they provide the perfect counterbalance to chunky winter knits and dark autumnal hues.

How to make the bucket hat, an accessory most commonly associated with seaside holidays and electronic music festivals, feel like a piece of designer fashion? No need for frills and flounces, it turns out. Instead, this solid black piece is imbued with texture and dimension by way of subtle quilting detail and a glossy shell fabric.

We wouldn’t recommend dwelling too deeply on the concept of black holes lest you wind up having an existential crisis. Then again, the design team at Acne Studios appear to have done exactly that. The result is the eye-catching and strangely cheery motif emblazoned on the front of this hoodie.

In our view, Acne Studios is at its best when it delivers contemporary updates on wardrobe essentials. Case in point: the soft-grey suede padded tongue on these sleek white leather sneakers instantly elevates an everyday basic into something rather brilliant.

Acne Studios has a reputation for infusing its designs with a touch of whimsy, but it’s not averse to stripping things back either. This boxy black tote bag strikes just the right balance between spacious and streamlined and is the sort of sturdy investment piece you’ll get loads of use out of.