Sacai: Still the insiders’ designer
On certain days during the fashion season – especially in this multi-reference, assemblage era - one is tempted to think of designers as highly sophisticated cocktail barmen. Actually, make that barmaid, in the case of Chitose Abe, the brilliant designer of Tokyo-based Sacai, who is the reigning champion of mixology in fashion when it comes to actually cutting and making garments, and not decorating them.
Each of her looks in this important show on Monday morning in Paris was an accumulation of contrasting fabrics, cuts and trimming. Her clothes are at first sight unlikely, but on better consideration really rather noble.
Hence, a “classic” Sacai dress might be made of a athletic nylon top; silk petticoat, layers of dressy chiffon, a series of tied on scarves and chunks of lace added on for detailing. All based on similar mixes of fabrics as straps on tough stainless steel heels. Her coats are equally innovative – mixes of camouflage; beige trench coat flaps; padded nylon trim and velvet collars. It could all be very messy, but Abe has such good taste it just looks uber cool. Especially this season, where she made lots of sleeves and flaps multi-purpose, so by tying or untying them each look changed aspect radically.
Aficionados appreciate that her designs have had great impact on other creators. However, precisely because her clothes are so complicated, Abe’s influence is perhaps little known to the general public. They are hard for high labels to copy. Another reason fashion editors, and retailers, love her. They know she will remain an insider’s phenomenon.
“I wanted to provide more options, and rethink Sacai in a more feminine way,” said designer Chitose Abe in the backstage. Who, if she really were a barmaid, would be serving cocktails in the Hemingway Bar.
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