PARIS, France — MELTING POT was the message twistily woven in orange across a navy blue smock top. Chitose Abe has shown herself to be a great believer in the brotherhood of man and the sisterhood of woman, and she called her new collections – autumn/winter for men, pre-fall for women – “a celebration of togetherness”. Abe has a real knack for elevating the obscure. This time, it was Bar Italia, the coffee bar on Greek Street in London’s Soho, that got the Sacai treatment. Abe has fond memories of hanging out there with all sorts. Together.
Togetherness in Sacai terms has usually meant a hybrid form that swathes flickers of familiarity in something else strange and wonderful, the way here, for example, that two coats, houndstooth and herringbone, became one, or a biker and a field jacket collided. Rib met cable in knitwear, lace trimmed nylon in a surreal pioneer dress worn by Kaia Gerber.
It wasn’t an epic Sacai collection, in the way that some of Abe’s creations have defied comprehension with their ingenious transmogrifications of wardrobe staples. But it was able to elevate something as basic as grey flannel sweatshirting in a parka with a complicated arrangement of straps, or a long, lean top coat. A man’s suit was cut from nylon. There seemed to be a deliberate attempt to make the banal precious. After the show, Abe was questioned about her commitment to sustainability. She said she liked the idea of her clothes being worn for ten or twenty years. No obsolescence in her programme then.
But she’s quite right. The fascination of Sacai endures in its trendproof oddity, in the arcane layering and airy silhouettes of its womenswear, in the secret surprises that are insinuated into its menswear. They never get tired.