The hallmark of the Sacai brand is its hybrid designs. A dress is never simply a dress. A jacket is not just a jacket. The garments are spliced apart and reconfigured into a new entity that has melded together hallmark aspects of other wardrobe staples. The results always being a cool crossbreed of beauty.
This season, however, there was a sense that the ingredients weren’t gelling as seamlessly as they had done in the past. At least that was the case at the start of designer Chitose Abe’s show. Perhaps it was the layering of vintage souvenir scarf material onto a guipure lace, two strong elements in their own right, that made the first series of looks appear jarring.
But that sensation turned out to be exactly the sort of energy Abe was striving for. A distortion of sorts that, through the draping and overlaying of different patterns, textures and familiar shapes, would blur into being something richer and more complex.
Take, for example, those first few looks mentioned earlier. Not only was the retro scarf fabric created for the collection, the lace wasn’t even lace. It was actually embroidered and then laser cut to create the illusion of lace.
The use of easily identifiable scarf material worked better for Abe when she took on the classic western bandana. From the moment it showed up on the circuitous catwalk, its lineage was unmistakable and it made it easier for the mind to expand to appreciate that the pattern wasn’t simply a print but was also born from a three-dimensional embroidering technique.
The other strong offering in this show came right at the end in a regal mix of navy and gold that the designer used to great graphic effect. Appearing as it did with a military air, these pieces once again used the same method of laser embroidery from the start of the show. But this time the impact had a more stately grace.
Nothing at Sacai can be taken at face value. There is always going to be more going on beneath the surface. The fashion world is more than happy to keep digging.