Chitose Abe is the creative director of Sacai, a label she founded in 1999. The brand is renowned for its prodigious technical ability, splicing two items of clothing together to create a sum that is greater than its parts, counting the likes of Karl Lagerfeld , Anna Wintour and Suzy Menkes as fans.
Abe owns 100 percent of her business, which allows her complete creative control and freedom to select any commercial considerations she chooses. “My collections are based purely on my creative instincts,” she told BoF. “Maybe I’m an idealist, but I am a firm believer that if you’re producing well-designed products at the right price that your business is destined to flourish.”
Prior to founding Sacai, Abe worked at Comme des Garçons as a pattern cutter under Rei Kawakubo and later as a member of Junya Watanbe’s design team. Although trained at one of Japan’s most famous and storied design labels, Abe’s aesthetic elevates and simplifies that of her homeland to finely wrought classics. “Japanese-ness may be important for some when selling to Europe, for me it’s not important. I think it says something that I’m the only Japanese brand that many of my stockists carry.”
The Japan-based brand started showing at Paris Fashion Week in 2009; by its second season overseas, Sacai had won over 15 international clients, including Biffi in Milan, Colette in Paris and Joyce in Hong Kong. Today, the label has over 90 stockists worldwide. Abe has also expanded into other fashion categories through her more streamlined Sacai Luck and Sacai Men’s lines. In 2019, Sacai released collaborations with Nike and earphone label Beats by Dre.
Abe is married to Junichi Abe, the founder and designer of Kolor.