Chitose Abe is ready to get back out in the world.
The designer took advantage of her recent trip to Paris, where she presented a one-off couture collection as guest designer for Jean Paul Gaultier, to shoot the look books for the Sacai women’s resort and men’s spring 2022 collections at the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe on the Left Bank — intermittent rain showers notwithstanding.
Abe felt the location and the weather were perfect for showcasing her looks, designed to bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor activities, as some regions cautiously reopen after coronavirus-related lockdowns.
“This season was really about being able to go outdoors. I was thinking about the functionality and also the performance of the clothes,” she explained via Zoom. “You can wear them day-to-day, but you can also wear them on fancier occasions as well, so with that location, we were able to depict both scenarios.”
Riffing on a theme of bonding, both as a metaphor for unity and as a technique for joining together two materials, the lineup featured a collaboration with German technical apparel brand Acronym. Outfits incorporated details such as workwear pockets, bonded seams and slits, while many of the fabrics were waterproof.
Abe brought a sophistication to the looks, such as a floorlength sleeveless gray raincoat, worn over a striped jacquard fringed skirt and wide split-leg pants, which she accessorized with a wicker hamper containing a picnic set by French ceramics brand Astier de Villatte.
A cream tweed jacket was lined with water-repellent black fabric, while the brand’s signature paisley bandana prints and buffalo checks were used for all-over looks, including a punk-inspired red-and-black millefeuille dress that echoed one of the looks she showed on the Gaultier runway.
“I had such a great time designing the Jean Paul Gaultier collection – that further emphasized my interest in combining the elegant with the casual,” she explained.
The men’s looks mixed workwear shapes with splashes of flamboyant color, from golden yellow to turquoise and hot pink, giving the collection an urban – and urbane – gloss. As social life resumes, a multitasking wardrobe is once again a must. After all, sweatpants can only take you so far.