The Sacai and Undercover joint show in Tokyo.


TWO FOR ONE: The rain fell nonstop, but it didn’t deter Tokyo’s fashion insiders from coming out to see a joint show by arguably Japan’s hottest two designers at the moment, Chitose Abe and Jun Takahashi. The venue was a tent outside a historic gallery, and inside was a long, simple runway of plywood. It was Abe’s first show in Tokyo, and Takahashi’s first in some 15 years.

The event happened thanks to the support of Amazon through its At Tokyo program, which aims to get involvement in Tokyo Fashion Week from brands that would normally sit it out.

The two brands and their respective spring collections couldn’t be more different, but somehow they complemented each other. Maybe it was because of the duality of Undercover’s latest offering, or maybe it was because of Sacai’s signature look of splicing contrasting pieces into cohesive looks, but somehow it worked.

Abe went first, with her fresh and feminine looks made of menswear checks, madras plaids and camouflage mixed together in unexpected ways. The music and the mood were upbeat, and at the end of the runway was a giant, bright white screen.

After the lights went down, chandeliers were lowered over the runway and all eyes turned to the other end, where pairs of eerie “twins” emerged from behind a red velvet curtain. They were dressed in Takahashi’s reversible pieces inspired by “The Shining” and Cindy Sherman. At the end came six sets of little girls representing the Grady twins from the classic horror film.

The show’s finale featured the models from both brands, all wearing white lab-style coats printed with the words “what comes around goes around” over their runway looks. Abe and Takahashi took their bows, one at each end of the runway, to raucous applause from their hometown audience. It may be another 15 years or longer before either of them does a show in Tokyo again, but it’s safe to say that if and when it does happen, the locals will appreciate it.

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