PARIS, France — If there are any hardcore fashionistas out there who still don’t know who Chitose Abe is or can’t spot one of her distinctive Sacai creations when they see it, well then it’s time that they turn in their membership card. Abe is one of the most exciting and innovative designers of Paris Fashion Week. Scratch that — of any of the four main fashion weeks — and she had another tour de force show on Monday.
Abe has made a name for herself through her clever dyslexic designs that make garments of an amalgamation of clothing staples. Staples that she then processed to flip inside out, back to front or upside down so that each outfit is a breathtaking study in clothing codes and perceptions of normality.
This season she took those already complex components and amped them up even further. Yes, she was fully embracing the the continuing oversized trend in fashion but the clothing also pointed to a self assurance in the designer that has never been so apparent.
That confidence was well placed as every look in her collection was a flat out (or should that be puffed up) winner. From the first voluminous shaggy fur coat meets leather perfecto by way of plaid overcoat outerwear, through some opulent blue velvet slash cable knit sweater pieces that featured an overlay of a short skirt crafted from a man’s suit jacket and all the way to the final puffer coats, cut as if they had been turned inside out and accented with fluffy wool, this engaging show never took its foot off the fashion pedal.
As fantastically fantastical the outerwear was, Abe also crafted lots of covetable and quirky daywear. Standouts included scarf printed silk dresses woven into plaid kilt skirts and knit dresses with ruffle skirts constructed out of what looked to be a number of unfinished sleeves or cowl necks.
If Abe ever wanted to expand the presence of her Sacai brand on the fashion world stage, all she would have to do is snap her fingers and eager backers would be lining up at her door to get in on that action. Spotting a sure fashion bet is a rare thing. But Abe is one of them.