Chitose Abe is probably the last designer you would expect to commission a branded helicopter. But Sacai’s creative director has been through lockdown like the rest of us, and she felt a little fantasy was in order.
For the online presentation of her fall collection, she wanted to show the clothes on Tokyo’s famed Shibuya crossing at night. Abe recreated the busy intersection in a film studio using a computer-generated backdrop — though the sleek black helicopter that dropped off the models was real.
“I wanted to show the beauty of the city by creating this video, and showing the reality, but also a not-so-realistic aspect of it,” she said via Zoom. “Something like this could never happen, a helicopter landing in one of the busiest crossings in Tokyo. So I wanted to realize that through this video: something impossible, to make it possible.”
Rather than distract from the clothes, the concept actually magnified her striking new silhouette for fall: all elongated proportions, with hip-hugging pencil skirts seguing into fluttering panels of silk and chiffon, and shrunken shoulders set off by overlong sleeves.
Famously fond of clashing patterns and colors, Abe restrained the patchwork effects this season in favor of subtle tonal combinations and bold color-blocked looks, like the scarlet peacoat and skirt that opened the display. Shades of fuchsia, red and cobalt stood out against a workwear-inspired palette of khaki, navy and beige.
Joining forces with graffiti artist Eric Haze, she sprinkled in two upbeat slogans: “One Kind Word” and “Feel It.”
The designer said she was in the mood for dressing up, without sacrificing comfort and wearability — hence the profusion of knitwear, including a sparkly black floor-length dress. “People hopefully will be interested in wearing something a little bit more elegant, after wearing sweats all the time during this period,” she reasoned.
The outerwear was chic and functional, too, with options ranging from a puffer jacket spliced with a trenchcoat, to a shearling bomber jacket with an extra-wide ribbed waist and furry sleeves. As the world gradually reopens after a year of coronavirus restrictions, these were clothes worth crossing the street for.