Chitose Abe knows a thing or two about introducing clever details in her clothing to make them irresistible. The intimate setting of the Frank Elbaz gallery, nestled in the entrance passage to the Garage Turenne show venue, was an opportunity to get up close and personal to her fall-winter 2013/2014 collection.
Abe’s outerwear has always been one of her strengths and when playing with classics of Britannia, introduces a cool as anything vibe to a tailored casual mood. A particularly eye-catching element is a Chesterfield jacket tailored but lightly stuffed, for a puffer effect that added warmth. In particular, her very Japanese way of reinventing fabrics brings forth unusual combinations, such as denim made of wool. This takes a smart suit down a notch without slacking. Elsewhere, Aran “knits” revealled their true nature as prints and woven fabrics displayed tonal variations not from dye but from spray painting sections as they are being woven.
Prints are rare enough in the Abe visual dictionary that they are remarked upon immediately. Meandering among the clothes encourages touch, and this brings out an even more nuance to her creations. A collaboration with French shoemaker Paraboot produced her first men’s shoes, a classic monk strap model that has received the Sacai touch.
Ever the quiet one, Abe has been growing steadily over the seasons, gathering a following that packs any of her runway shows to the rafters. Judging from the steady stream of visitors walking in through the door, her menswear will have as much commercial appeal as it has editorial cachet.
– Lily Templeton