“Shocking and unexpected things happened while I was designing this collection,” Chitose Abe reflected (through a translator) after her men’s fall and women’s pre-fall collections had taken to the runway in Paris. “I feel grateful to have a simple, happy life, and so I really wanted to give a united message of love to everyone.” She’d thought about the word uniform and broken it down into uni-form. For her, the semantics worked both ways. She was wearing a T-shirt embroidered with “One Love,” with a pictogram of a hand with its index finger pointing up at the wearer.
There were more of the same dotted around the show. The idea of uni-form naturally has another meaning in Abe’s work. She’s renowned for having started hybridizing garments from different genres (initially from her home in Tokyo, as far back as the millennium )—a method that’s influenced fashion ever since. This season her uniting of garments produced a continuous flow of outerwear, mixing up puffers, trench coats, Fair Isle knitwear, tweed, and leather biker jackets.
Her credibility within the menswear scene has brought her collaborations with both Carhartt and the skateboard and streetwear pioneer and artist Mark Gonzales. Sacai x Gonzales embroidered patches were emblazoned on many of her jackets, collegiate style, in sync with the Americana trend that has been running rife across this season’s men’s shows.
Sacai’s complicated silhouettes and exaggerated volumes defy detailed descriptions. An exception was a single duffle coat, its classic toggle fastenings simply shifted to one side—this looked great.
In the womenswear, there was also a lot going on, chiefly in twisted asymmetric knits, balloon-sleeve silhouettes, and vertically shredded and zippered dress constructs—a foretaste of the show she’ll put on during the women’s season just around the corner.