Chitose Abe is what one might call a fashion late bloomer.Roughly 15 years after launching her Tokyo-based collection, Sacai, Abe has experienced a recent surge in interest. Some credit the uptick to Karl Lagerfeld, who was seen wearing a Sacai blazer around Paris last season; others pinpoint Anna Wintour’s pit stop in Abe’s showroom during a 2011 trip to Tokyo. Regardless, the press caught onto Sacai when Abe upgraded her Paris presentation to a full runway show for fall 2011. “I felt the clothes needed to be worn on the runway to see the three-dimensionality of them,” said Abe of her hybrid cuts — spring’s sporty Windbreakers in grand Sixties couture volumes, for example — during an interview Tuesday morning at Barneys New York’s Madison Avenue flagship.Making an impact on the Paris show schedule has thrust Abe’s business into expansion mode outside of Japan, where she’s had a steady following and a freestanding store since 2011. She sees the U.S. market as the biggest opportunity, thus this week’s trip to the States for the first time in seven years. She’s doing bicoastal personal appearances with Barneys, today at the Madison Avenue flagship followed by a small dinner at Omar’s. Her next stop is Los Angeles for a store appearance on Thursday and an event at the Hammer Museum on Friday.RELATED STORY: Sacai RTW Spring 2014 >> Arriving in New York on Monday left little time for touring, although visiting downtown art galleries and some furniture shopping were on Abe’s agenda, with the opportunity to interact with her American clientele as the big priority. “I’m very proud to be an independent woman, a mother of a 15-year-old daughter, with a full-time job,” said Abe. “I think women in America identify with that more than in other places.”Barneys stocks Sacai’s main collection as well as the more casual Sacai Luck, yet interestingly, Abe said that her runway pieces are the top sellers in the U.S., where they attract “women who want to feel empowered by clothes but don’t feel the need to wear a power suit,” she said. Indeed, the Sacai aesthetic, with its focus on complicated cuts and what Abe describes as “something a little off” can be classified as distinctly Japanese. Prior to launching her own line, Abe worked at Comme des Garçons as a patternmaker with Rei Kawakubo before joining Junya Watanabe’s design team. Abe’s interpretation of Comme des Garçons’s avant school of thought is more playful and light than Kawakubo and Watanabe’s work. It’s tempting to call the look youthful, particularly in light of the bright and athletic collection she just showed for spring, but Abe says her customer base covers a broad age range. “Women in their 60s wear it, at least in Japan, and much younger women, too,” said Abe, 48, who made the case for the individualist wearability of her line by dressing in a velvet dress and trench combination from her fall collection — paired with high-top Vans and a handful of Repossi rings. Her outfit was definitely not wearing her.
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)