Junichi Abe sent his vibrant fall collection down a runway in the Happo-en garden of Tokyo, and livestreamed the show. Night had fallen and the models could be seen working their way through a winding, tree-lined pathway, dimly lit in blue. When they stepped onto the well-lit runway, the colors suddenly sprang to life.
Overall, it was actually a more muted palette than usual, but that made the brightly hued accents stand out even stronger — the red stripes lining a rich suede bomber, say, or a patch of turquoise mesh affixed to the breast of a suit coat. This season was an exercise of minimalism for Abe, and classic styles dominated: long trenchcoats, traditional wool blazers, cardigans and ample, pleated trousers in pale beige and olive tones, various shades of gray and deep browns.
That was the base to which he applied his magic, splicing and dicing bits of technical sportswear, knit sweaters, the panel of a suit jacket, the collar of a uniform shirt, a shrunk-down vest — you name it. He continued his recent experiment in shrinkage and layering, tossing a vibrant green kid-sized puffer jacket with adult-lengthed arms over a houndstooth coat and a sporty pullover.
Much of this experimentation felt like embellishment — a jumble of lace, ribbons and polka dots highlighting a shoulder, or an extra collar framing the face — which was an interesting development at a time when his longtime pursuit of patching together disparate pieces feels so relevant, with the upcycling movement giving rise to more eclectic styles.
Footwear, another Abe specialty, was extra-appealing: those colorfully layered sneakers, the white ones, too, and studded loafers. Eye-catching, all of it, even through the screen.