We love Chitose Abe: there is a fascinating simplicity, mixed in with just enough fabric reinvention to keep her public hooked in season after season. If her menswear is a little less out there than its feminine counterpart, it is no less compelling. To wit, her spring-summer 2014 inspired by the Mods offered plenty to look at like a military inspired coat with its back zippered flap brought over from the original, or a specially developed camouflage jacquard knit. A personal favorite: a blazer mixing grosgrain with fabric and knitwear to create a very chic preppy striping effect.
Abe is not one to rush herself developing her brand and ideas. Mirroring the ascent of her womenswear, the progression and level of comfort with this line can be felt easily in how her shows are presented: first it was only on mannequins, letting the clothes do the talking. Now it’s finally on live models, coming in groups of three, each taking to a small stage to be examined at length. With reason, as the common characteristic between all Sacai pieces is a fierce attention to details as small and intimate as the bonding of layers of fabric together (on an elongated motorcycle jacket, all bulk whisked away) or a novel inkjet technique used on a windbreaker.
These small subtleties (Ribbons as laces! Hidden pockets! A model’s striking tattoo!) that came across forcefully in a presentation could have been lost in translation in a show setting, but were fully transcribed through the use of cameras broadcasting detail shots as each model stepped up to the plate, another smarty-cool idea from Abe. A testament to her ability to further her conversation without ever repeating herself: the steady stream of heavyweight industry late-comers slipping into the very last mini-show.
- Lily Templeton