Weather has not been anyone’s friend this season and yet again it’s a cloudy and cool morning in Paris with still more rain on the way this afternoon. Typically, these fall/winter fashions would look a bit bulky and cumbersome with warming temperatures, but this year there have been many instances where guests would have happily taken the heavy clothes right off the models before going back out into the elements. This morning’s Sacai show was one of those instances … sort of.
Chitose Abe is another Japanese designer from the Commes de Garcons school, but unlike many of her peers from that fashion incubator Abe’s collections tend to stay more within the realm of traditional silhouettes. If anything, Ms. Abe’s look tends to be much more feminine and less costumed than many of the Japanese designers showing here this season. Where the sacai collection (and yes, the name should not be capitalized) differs is in the often extreme number of fabrics and textures applied to each ensemble. This season, silk organza, wool, and a tremendous amount of shearling are the dominant fabrics, but along the way there is plenty of cotton and tweed as well. Abe’s ability to pull all these diverse pieces together could easily be a metaphor for how an ideal society should work, each fabric dramatically unique yet coming together to make incredibly attractive garments.
This season, there is a folklore feel to a Mongolian-influenced set of styles. Broad-lapelled jackets would have been snatched up by the dozens had they been available this morning; their attractive look being just as compelling as their warmth. There is also a reconstructed biker jacket mixing black leather with blue tweed that is an interesting mix of business and pleasure in a single look. Some of the plaids do invoke a bit of a Highland feel, especially when applied to scarfs that fluttered behind as models walked, but one never loses the feeling of being high in the cold mountains of Asia, where winters can be deadly.
Outwear is going to get a lot of the press and buyer attention from this collection, but please do pay attention to the very unique layering Abe applies to her knit dresses. The combination of wool yarn patterns under strips and layers of sheer is as dramatic as it is warm, and yet she fashions the two in such as way as to make sense of the pairing. In fact, nowhere in this collection does the combination of textures look or feel forced or inappropriate.
I have a feeling sacai’s popularity as a brand could jump significantly with this collection, so one might do well to start looking for it early in anticipation of production shortages. Everyone is going to want one of these coats. Make sure you get your order in while you can.