The new Acne store in the capital’s Dover Street will open today with the latest aviator-inspired AW10 collection and sneak previews of the staple piece of the season being their shearling jacket. The Swedish label Acne, standing for Ambition to Create Novel Expressions, is already a big hit in London (we can get our hands on the cool brand at Browns, Liberty, Matches and online) but the anticipated concept studio spread over a five storey townhouse in the heart of London was news that sent fashion insiders into overdrive.
Founded in 1996 in Stockholm, Acne not only consists of a fashion brand but also stretches to advertising, art, film, e-commerce, magazine publishing and even toys. The denim offshoot began in 1997 when founder Jonny Johansson and three friends designed 100 pairs of jeans to distribute among friends, family and acquaintances. Before long a public demand for these raw denim jeans with red stitching appeared and the following year Acne Jeans was born with its first collection.
Today Acne has over ten stores situated not only in Scandinavia but also in Australia, Austria, France, Germany and the USA. The expansion into the London retail landscape had always been the brand’s long-term goal. Founder and Creative Director Johansson told GQ.com: “Very early on, back in 1999, we started selling to London. I think we even sold to Selfridges but we were so young and couldn't deliver - we got a bad reputation! We have really been looking for a store and it's been a long wait. I'm super happy with the location: I really love Dover Street Market, The Wolsley is quite close and I stay at Brown's Hotel. So I think it's an area that's neat, in between offices and art dealers.
” The new studio features clothing, furniture, a roof terrace, garden and gallery boasting design work from artists such as Jean Cocteau, Jeremiah Goodman and Katerina Jebb: "Ever since we formed Acne we always talked about a house with different levels of creativity to house all of our artistic endeavours," said Johansson. He continued: "The Studio will be more than just clothing it will be a house of differing creativity."
For most fashion brands, opening a new shop is a tentative process of testing the water but the thrill of the opening day and the early arrival of fashion fans this morning confirm Acne is here to stay.