A first for the French Maison, the collection has been deemed a “creative encounter” by the Compagnie Financière Richemont-owned watch and jeweler, and was born from conversations and meetings in 2019 between Abe and Cartier’s international chief executive officer Cyrille Vigneron. The two connected on topics centering around the brands’ design synergies, evolving naturally into the possibility of adjoining for a new creative moment.
“Chitose is a singular designer. Before constructing, she deconstructs. She deconstructs clothes, functions, fabrics and reassembles them in her own way, like no other. In this process, she finds harmony and a sensual balance of timelessness and timeliness, casual and dressy, new yet classic,” Vigneron explained of Abe, who also is a Cartier client wearing pieces from the Trinity and Love collection in her day-to-day life. “This collection Trinity for Chitose Abe of Sacai has deconstructed the iconic three-bangle ring to reconstruct it in a totally new way, expanding from one finger to more, finding new movements and new bonds,” he said, adding, “this collection is a new metaphor of love, friendship and fidelity. A new art of trio, unstereotyped, powerful yet sweet. So Sacai.”
Abe began her fashion career as a pattern cutter at Comme des Garçon, working under Rei Kawakubo, and later was a part of Junya Watanabe’s design team. She launched Sacai in Japan in 1999 and quickly became known for her approach to fashion, transforming the ordinary to the extraordinary, freeing herself from distinctions through the idea of hybridization.
“When I design clothes, the dimensionality, the balance between the expected and unexpected and that sense of movement captured in the silhouette — using what may seem so familiar as a starting point and creating something completely new is the essence of the brand,” Abe explained. “That is what I uphold in my design process for Sacai, which I believe makes this partnership fit perfectly into this ready-to-wear collection.”
“Seems so natural for me to incorporate the jewelry with the Sacai ready-to-wear collection, as my work has always been very personal to me,” Abe argued, “as well as this Trinity design of playing with forms that I’ve admired; to make something new from a starting point of something familiar.”
The six-piece jewelry collection is crafted in the Cartier creation studio, inspired by the clean precision of the nearly 100-year-old Trinity collection — historically made of three interlaced and mobile yellow, rose and white gold rings. Reimagined by Cartier through the lens of Abe’s creative process, the collection falls in line with the Maison’s long tradition of bespoke orders, where an open approach to design is a key exercise in the creation, but the result here, for Abe, is a one-off collection destined for the public.
“The Trinity collection embodies Cartier’s vision of design, where jewelers reveal the beauty of a shape with clean lines and perfect proportions, so it’s very exciting to have the eye of Chitose Abe, a designer who shares so many synergies with our Maison,” remarked Arnaud Carrez, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Cartier International. “Trinity is made up of three intertwined bands in yellow gold, rose gold and white gold and this encounter is no different — the reinterpretation comes from a play on volume and proportions. It was both the interest of Chitose Abe and our Maison to reinterpret a classic or, as Louis Cartier would call it, a ‘mother idea.'”
The collection is made up of two rings, one bracelet, one necklace and two earrings using 18-karat yellow gold, white gold and rose gold starting at $3,900. After its debut on the fall 2022 Sacai runway, the pieces will begin selling at retail this summer exclusively in Japan, coming to the U.S., France, U.K. and Korea in the fall.
“Normally there’s no association of names with Cartier and the way we worked with Chitose Abe is similar to how we work with a client who creates a special order,” Carrez pointed out. “There was a level of trust in our efforts and a refined eye, on her side, with appreciation to our designs and craftsmanship.”
While a first for Cartier, Abe, who is married to Junichi Abe, founder and designer of Kolor, has many hot design partnerships under her belt, including one with Nike, which sold out upon release, creating a lot of buzz at resale sneaker sites; and collections with Kaws, Acronym, Tomo Koizumi, APC and Dior’s Kim Jones.
“I’m enchanted by the story of Trinity, which sits so close to my personal values and those that I aspire to for Sacai — the principles of love, fidelity, and friendship, which I consider to be more important than anything else in life and values by which I’ve tried to lead my life and my work,” Abe said.
Could this pave the way for things to come from Cartier? “We would never say never when it comes to future designs, but we see this as more of a ‘one-off’ and the final question is always, is this Cartier?” Carrez said.