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ACNE’s New World Vision of Paisley and Kaftans at Paris Fashion Week

The ACNE Studios showroom and its staff are renowned in the industry for the café-like atmosphere and comfortable, chic hospitality. They serve brilliant food to brilliant buyers and there’s so much airy, open space. It’s the perfect place to crunch numbers, but it couldn’t be less convenient in terms of the rest of the city.

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All images by Jessa Carter

Getting up to the 18th arrondissement takes considerable time and effort. When you’re there, however, a whole new side of Paris opens up. The area encompasses the smaller neighborhood of Goutte d’Or, or Little Africa, and on Wednesdays and Sundays the Marché Barbès makes an outdoor emporium of goods from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan and other places. The whole area, including the sights and sounds of the Rue Marx Dormoy’s grocery stores and restaurants, felt particularly relevant when we visited the showroom on Tuesday because of the inspiration behind creative director Jonny Johansson’s spring collection. 

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We were told that Berber carpets—historically handwoven in North Africa and the Sahara—were a major starting point, and the kaftans and Baja jacket–like silhouettes certainly implied a pan-global experience. Vogue.com reported that the Swede had been thinking about the ongoing refugee crisis and “the textile traditions of the countries where many have been displaced.”

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What we know as the paisley was another common thread; the motif is more traditionally known as a buta and can be traced to such countries as Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

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It seems likely Johansson was able to do some of his research fairly close to his Parisian home base. Regardless, the tunics and dresses, moto jackets and sweatshirts, jeans and slip-on shoes (because, of course, the beloved ACNE basics are still represented) that resulted have an ACNE Afar kind of vibe.

Go travel the world in them—or save the world in them. Or simply be ever more aware of your place in it and the place of others as well.

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