Acne Studios, the Swedish collective and unofficial outfitter of the creative professional set, will open the doors to its first independent flagship store in North America this Friday. The new storefront is located on Greene street in Soho, replacing the small, neighboring Acne/Opening Ceremony pop-up shop. Here’s why you should visit.
Branding is all about belief production. Acne Studio’s name alone isn’t something to boast about, and it is rarely boasted on the garments; the association with pustules and puberty seems like an intentional affront to pandering branding. Acne stands for Ambition to Create Novel Expressions and that’s what you’re buying—the knowledge that you know what the name means. Acne isn’t just a fashion label. Founded in Stockholm in 1996, Acne Studios is a creative collective with a fashion department, a production company, an advertising agency, a kid’s division, and one of the most beautiful print magazines on the market, Acne Paper, all working under the same umbrella. The Acne clothing line doesn’t advertise in traditional ways (magazines, billboards, and so on). Instead, the brand’s ethic is communicated through its own media. Acne clothes showcase the same reverence for art, design, and human innovation as Acne Paper (the last issue of which featured work by artists Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, and Gillian Wearing, an article on sexuality with Isabella Rossellini, an interview with curator/theorist Hans Ulrich Obrist, and an essay by Dr. Valerie Steele, pioneer of the emerging academic field of Fashion Studies).
Acne Studios clothing, though showing on the Fashion Week calendar, is seasonless. Pieces from Spring/Summer 2009 are equally relevant and desirable today. That is, unfortunately, a rarity. Acne has a consistent design vision marked by clever, well-constructed classics, and a price-point that says “I care but I’m not a fool.” One of the most coveted items from this Spring/Summer 2012 are the Dandelion clogs, an open back high heel that resembles a pair of men’s oxfords in motion—round, closed toe down, a flat oxford-like heel propped high by a classic pump stilt. The elegant masculine/feminine remix is emblematic of the Acne aesthetic. And, of course, we can’t not mention the jeans. Acne fashion started with denim and they continue to make the best jeans for everybody. I swear by the Flex model. Another friend swears by the Kex, another the Skin, another the Needle. No one can go wrong with the Hex. Believe.