Bare Skin and Leather: See Acne Studios’ Provocative New Campaign

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The Musubi Campaign by Acne Studios
The Musubi Campaign by Acne StudiosPhotography by Talia Chetrit

Acne Studios introduces a "playful and muscular" campaign for its iconic Musubi bag, based on the contrasts between skin and leather

Poised in dancerly, balletic stances, the muscular, anonymous male bodies featured in Acne Studios’s latest campaign images curve in tandem with the soft contours of the brand’s iconic Musubi bag. The Japanese word for “knot”, a musubi is a decorative sash worn to keep an obi in place, and it inspired the Swedish brand to create the bag with a twisted knot motif. Sans obi – or any clothes at all – the campaign captures leathers against bare skin.

The campaign is the work of New York-based artist Talia Chetrit, whose images centre around themes of intimacy and sexuality, laced with a playful eroticism. Her 2019 monograph, Showcaller, included stylised and often nude self-portraits among still lifes and street photography – there’s an image of Chetrit and her partner naked and kissing in a meadow, and elsewhere, the bustling streets of New York City. 

“I have long admired the work of Talia Chetrit because she treats everything in a singular, very personal way,” says Acne Studios’ creative director, Jonny Johansson. “This project was her idea entirely – we just sent her some bags to photograph as she wished.”

The campaign is launching today at Acne Studios HQ in Stockholm with two special installations – first with a gigantic print draping the building’s front. “It's a brutalist building, the former Czechoslovakia embassy that Acne restored in 2019, and sits on a very unsuspecting, quiet neighbourhood street,” Acne Studios’ newly installed chief marketing officer (and Dazed’s former editor-in-chief) Isabella Burley tells AnOther. “We loved the idea of projecting this powerful nude body on the building in such a direct way. A way to wake up the neighbours at 9am in the morning!”

“Inside, we also covered two elevators with images from the campaign,” Burley continues. “We liked the idea that staff heading to meetings would be coming in and out of these elevators every day interacting with the works. It felt like a playful way to launch the project!” With the campaign launching today in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Milan and Berlin through a series of outdoor print activations, Acne Studios broadcasts a message to the world: you’re never fully dressed without a bag.