Acne Studios' Spring/Summer 2020 show was all about contrasts: shiny and matte, knitwear and acetate, the art student and the working professional. As co-founder and creative director Jonny Johansson puts it backstage, "We do archetypes. Archetypal clothing."

More specifically, what Acne Studios does with these archetypes is what has cemented the Swedish label as an almost unanimously adored brand for suiting, sneakers, and one-off standouts such as the diagonal crisscross cut-out top in slide #14 above.

Following FW19, which remixed the clothing of niche subcultures, the SS20 collection riffed on the irreverent and haphazard styling of art students, inspired by the kind Johansson sees on the campus near to his home.

The knitwear, rendered in bright red, was made of cotton and nylon and cascaded around the body in chunky strands that appeared both cozy and protective. Meanwhile, shiny, semi-transparent acetate ties — a menswear accessory that's at the dawn of a resurgence — created a blurry effect on top of the button-ups worn underneath. The brand played with levels of visibility throughout, using cut-outs and semi-opaque fabrics.

Acne is a luxury brand that pivoted into the world of sneaker hype with aplomb, and SS20 saw the label lean into this summer's major footwear trend: the sandal. "It's a classic Arabic sandal, but on anabolic steroids," says Johansson of a shiny brown sandal with a chunky architectural sole.

The aforementioned diagonal crisscross cut-out shirts, made from a shiny lavender fabric, seemed to evoke the latest trend of embracing typically feminine shapes, fabrics, and products. "It's a weakness I always have," says Johansson. "It's about confidence, but these days femininity and masculinity are a great mix."

Acne Studios has a knack for taking daring looks and making them wearable — its neon orange tailoring springs to mind — but when its acronymic name stands for “Ambition to Create Novel Expression,” would you expect any different?

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