“Sacai is about taking familiar pieces and turning them into something very different and new,” said Chitose Abe during a preview of her spring collection. Now that we’re all acquainted with her compound cuts that fuse multiple garments into one, Abe’s challenge is to keep such an acute specialization feeling fresh.
There was a familiarity to the show, but it didn’t taper the momentum Abe has built over the last several seasons. Rather, she’s acclimated gracefully to the heightened interest in her collection, implicit in which is the pressure to be more inclusive of her growing audience, whose curiosity about Sacai might be countered by the look’s intimidation factor. To that end, Abe tries on every piece personally to ensure wearability.
The lineup somersaulted through ideas of uniform dressing — green army jackets, sailor suits and plaid schoolgirl kilts — tumbling into the artfully feminine via vivid scarf prints, folkloric embroideries and large-scale romantic lace. Silhouettes felt lighter, leaner than in past seasons as Abe cut closer to the body. A filmy floral blouse featured slim horizontal panels of army-green fabric across the front and a voluminous 3-D gather in the back. One of the best looks was a mariner-striped ribbed-knit trapeze top trimmed with crafty white lace on its exaggerated turtleneck collar and hem, shown over a lace skirt.
While Abe remained true to her inventive approach, she seemed to sense that a little hybrid dressing goes a long way in a wardrobe, thus expanding her range with a note or two of relative simplicity.