PARIS, France — The Sacai show began with an ending: the huge, lingering chord that closes the Beatles A Day in the Life. It was a sonic way to underline Chitose Abe’s premise — “wear what you want, when you want and how you want” — expressed in hybrids with no limits.
So dressing for a day in the Sacai woman’s life might mean an MA-1 jacket dissected, up-ended and re-assembled as a slinky skirt, or a ski sweater whose familiar pattern was picked out in pearls and jet beading, or banker’s stripe cotton and workwear plaids mutated into skirts flaring with accordion pleats, or a sailor-striped knit frothing with fringing at hem and cuffs. Abe’s alchemy transformed a huge puffa jacket and a long fluted skirt in denim (she was working with Levi’s for the first time) into a couture silhouette worthy of Charles James.
But such fiendish ingenuity is nothing new for the designer. The way she works it, puts her thing down, flips it and reverses it has been making us see streetwear with new eyes since she first started showing in Paris. Yes, the denim was a new arrow in Abe’s quiver. Yes, she was in love with the way zippers could open everything up: turn embroidered pajamas into an edgy suit, give a peacoat wings. But the strongest thing about this collection was the way it consolidated the Sacai signature.
As fashion relentlessly moves on, it means that there will always be people who will be late to the party, who missed the original blast of creativity and innovation that someone like Chitose Abe brought to the catwalk. It was smart for her to pause for a moment, remind the longtime fans, illuminate more recent arrivals as to why she is such a unique, independent and seductive voice in fashion..