Camille Over the Rainbow

Put on Your White SombreroThursday, September 20 2012




No, that is not the song that Johnny Johansson chose for his latest show, but it may as well have been .. It was indeed against the cheesy background of an ABBA tune, with cowboy resonant yi-ha!s sampled in, that ACNE ’13 opened. If at first both the musical stance itself and the wild-west vocals seemed puzzling, at least the collection seemingly followed through with the proposed theme. The first look, an oversized slogan tank branded MUSIC, teamed with a buckled-up parachute skirt was the first clue as to the designer’s inspiration. And as the girls casually made their entrance, a significant few sporting stetsons, the thought process became more apparent. In fact, the three words that guided the Johansson Spring-Summer story were all to be found on the collection’s tees themselves: MUSIC, NEW and COLLAGE.

Now I am not one to normally judge a person’s musical preferences. In fact, to be perfectly honest with you, I actually love ABBA. I will even go so far as to confess spending many a summer night manically dancing on around the kitchen table to Dancing Queen. It is a true classic, there is no denying it. But it’s not exactly cool. And hats off to you, Johansson, for wanting to explore something NEW, and in doing so feeding off a folk song that is evocative to you. Maybe it was Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball that brought the collection to life, but did the cowboy references need to be so literal? -“Hats? off!”. And it could be that I am just not open minded enough, but I did not understand where the leather jockey stripes fit in with the country aesthetic. Is it because both are horsemen? That could be the COLLAGE part, mind, bringing together elements that would never meet in real life. So there you have it. I struggle. I struggle to picture these silhouettes roaming about the street. But that doesn’t mean I would not happily slip into a midnight blue strapless gown buckled over a boyfriend tee. And if you don’t mind, I will keep the hat for those late summer nights …