Every season Chitose Abe draws on different references to dice and dissect into her signature hybrid fashions. In that sense, the collections never look the same but there is a deep consistency. This time the look felt genuinely new. It was a fabulous collection — pretty, fresh, fun, cool, wearable. All the good stuff.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Abe did differently. The hybridizations were still there, in jackets and skirts pieced together from colorful strips of men’s wear glen plaid. A riff on a men’s vest was made into a sporty dress assembled from patches of camouflage, nylon and pinstripes. And a crewneck sweater was spliced with a piece of a madras shirt and florals.
Infused with a fresh, feel-good attitude, the garments felt lighter and easier than usual despite intense constructions. One of the best looks was a long skirt made from panels of different fabrics — a piece of a trench sewn together with a piece of flowy pleated magenta fabric, green satin and light blue shirting material, creating a rainbow of a garment paired with a simple, sporty tank printed with the words “Beware It’s Everywhere.” Backstage after the show, Abe, who was wearing a T-shirt with the same message, said it was a reference to her inspiration. “You don’t have to go to the end of the world to get inspired,” she said. “It’s all around you.”
She elevated and refreshed everyday items; for example, a white lace tablecloth became a beautiful fluttery patchworked dress. Jeans were reworked into cool diagonally patchworked pants and an indigo wrap skirt made of square patches of denim. Shirts and jackets were tied under the arms and around the bust to create an improvised hourglass/corset silhouette, and pretty, vivid country florals and electric madras were merged together on sporty but feminine dresses and pants. The show closed with a floral maxi peasant dress with backpack straps. It wasn’t simple, but it was just plain pretty.