Jonny Johansson knows how to play nicely with others. In 1996, the Stockholm-based dynamo helped launch Acne (acnestudios.com), a creative collective that includes a film division, the style bible Acne Paper and, most famously, the eponymously named denim line. In fall 2008, Johansson collaborated with Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz to create a capsule collection (featuring the slogan “Lanvin Loves Acne”) of denim trenches, dresses, shoes and instantly iconic jeans and jean jackets. Last fall, Acne’s collection featured the talents of Swedish painter Susanna Serrander and German jeweller Michael Zobel and was inspired, Johansson says, by “the wardrobe of an eccentric Berlin gallery owner.” The collection was presented at Stockholm’s Millesgården museum, where models, stand- ing on blocks, wore biker jackets decorated with abstract landscape paintings, cuffs covered in rough black diamonds and other jewels, and brocade platform booties.
How did the “Lanvin Loves Acne” collaboration come about?
“Honestly, at the beginning it wasn’t even about the clothes. It was about meeting and working with Alber Elbaz. He invited me for a cup of coffee, and we just talked about the colour blue. He speaks about colour in a way that makes me wish I had said it myself. He works with words for inspiration, the same way I work with pictures or music.”
How did you merge the vision of a couture house with the vision of a denim brand?
“The experience was quite important for me, because Acne has been around for 12 years; we are not new, but we don’t have a history, whereas Lanvin is an old couture house that was founded in 1906. I don’t think great fashion is built on strategy; I think it’s built on passion and taking risks.”
Who was your first style icon? Your current style icons?
“My parents. I took clothing inspiration from my mother [striped shirts] and father [shoes]. Now, I often think about what would look good on my wife.”
What’s your favourite fashion film?
“When I was young, I loved The Lost Boys. I thought the California vampire look was really cool!”
What’s your favourite way to spend a Sunday?
“At home with my two boys. Our family also likes to get dressed up in themes and go to parties together.”
What’s your favourite book?
“Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil.”
Jonny's comfort food and most valued possession on the next page ...
Picture above: Acne's fall 2009 collection of tough leather and cool LBDs
What’s your most valued possession?
“My Fender Stratocaster in Daphne Blue.”
What’s your favourite comfort food?
“The most ‘comfortable’ thing for me is when someone else cooks! I don’t eat pizza and hamburgers, but I love sausage and charcuterie with potatoes.”
Where’s your favourite place to travel?
“I’m always happy to be in Paris. In terms of influence, New York and Hong Kong made great impressions on me the first time I visited.”
What’s your favourite trait in others?
“I like people who are more interesting than I am. I surround myself with them at Acne. It makes me better at what I do.”
Wear it well: The LBD
Wear it well: Ladylike lace
Check out all our spring 2010 coverage