Chitose Abe was upbeat and her spring collection for Sacai reflected that in the pleats galore that expressed freedom — of mind and movement.
Opening with an oversize double-breasted tuxedo jacket that turned into a dress coat thanks to the white shirt spliced into it, the designer cut folds into many of her usual tropes — tracksuits, MA1 bomber jackets or trenchcoats — morphing them into swingy options made to move as the wearer does.
In no particular order: shirts became dramatic blouses with voluminous sleeves; blazers turned into cape dresses; a peacoat, rid of its tailored shoulders and sleeves, was now a bustier; a trenchcoat fanned out with every step, from pleating but also light deconstruction of its upper half. Paired with a beaded tunic and kicky flared trousers, it was casual, cool and in the now.
Sportswear was also put through the paces, with the extra fabric inserted into pant legs, creating a flare effect. Also expressing movement were the tuxedo stripes that curved along the leg and arm. To keep the balance between her tailoring and these casual items, Abe cut shell suits and XXL hoodies from shiny materials.
Models forged ahead, hands stuffed in pockets built into their clothing or added as accessories. One style was the lower half of a peacoat worn cummerbund-style, another was a utility belt with sacks attached to it.
It was Abe’s way of telegraphing nonchalance and confidence, but also the idea that the wearer influences the final shape of garments with how they comport themselves.
Set inside a building under renovation near the French National Assembly, the ensemble looked gritty yet chic as it walked a tightrope between practical and the couture-level precision that Abe is known for.
The designer said she wanted to “encourage people to have a great attitude and show people how to [achieve it].” With this many pleasing pleats, Abe’s upbeat mood was encouragement to come out swinging come next spring.