PARIS — A post-apocalyptic scene greeted guests arriving at the Grand Palais for the Sacai show — that is, if they managed to make it at all. The entire Champs Élysées area was closed off with barricades in preparation for a new round of gilets jaunes protests, scheduled on Saturday afternoon for the ninth weekend in a row. Not a vehicle was in sight.
Cars dropped guests off at the sealed Pont Alexandre III bridge, which, after showing their I.D. to policemen, they then had to cross in the bracing cold to get to the show venue — and all this at 9 a.m.
“It’s far too early,” drawled Naomi Campbell, who showed up to Japanese designer Chitose Abe’s show wearing a gigantic pair of dark glasses. How did she manage to get to the venue with all the closures?
“I walked, just like everybody else,” she shrugged. Did she have to show her I.D. as well? Surely taking off her glasses would have sufficed.
Rapper Pusha T joined Takashi Murakami and Sarah Andelman in the front row of the show. “I love Japan a lot. I’ve been going there for a very long time, since BAPE’s fifth anniversary at least,” said the musician, sporting an orange Sacai coat. “Nigo introduced me to Japan, so it’s always been linked to him. Each trip is a different experience.”
Galerist Emmanuel Perrotin, who was sporting a Drake x Takashi Murakami varsity jacket produced in collaboration with Ovo, remembers his first trip to Japan with fondness. “The first time I went, in 1993 I think, satellite navigation didn’t exist and none of the street names were translated. It was a nightmare to find anything,” he recalled.
What struck him most was how civilized Japanese people seemed. “People don’t litter, everything is well organized….If only it was the same everywhere else,” he added with an eye roll.