Sacai Explores Americana and Truth for FW18 Show

Sacai Explores Americana and Truth for FW18 Show

The clothes were stunning, but Chitose Abe's Paris Fashion Week Men's show had a bigger message.

The clothes were stunning, but Chitose Abe's Paris Fashion Week Men's show had a bigger message.

Photography: Melodie Jeng

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

Chitose Abe, the Creative Director of Sacai, has a host of talents that are as equally unparalleled as they are multifaceted. The woman Karl Lagerfeld called “one of the most interesting designers today” has managed to stay unrelentingly authentic to her craft since the brand’s launch in 1999, a decade before its debut in Paris. One of Abe’s specialties, hybridization, has been the name of the game for several seasons now throughout the industry, but she’s been mastering the art long before it came so heavily into vogue, likely thanks to eight years spent as a pattern cutter for Comme des Garçons.

Authenticity in itself played a major role in her Men’s show this past season, which incorporated text from the New York Times’ “The Truth is Hard” campaign. When Abe came out to greet the crowd after the show’s glorious finale she wore a short saying: “Truth is more important now than ever.” While she noted that the collection was not meant to be aggressively political, the use of said language obviously dances around President Trump’s ongoing attacks on the media, joining brands like Études, who championed freedom for (and trust in) the press during their shows. Considering the recent repeal of net neutrality, this dialogue has just begun in culture at large. Leave it to Abe to help pioneer it into fashion.

As for the clothes, models wore heavy, blizzard-ready parka jackets with staunch yet elegant silhouettes, delicately tiptoeing the line between chic and pragmatic that Abe so expertly toys with. Patterns inspired by Hawaiian shirt company Reyn Spooner were often paired with jewelry from Japanese brand Goro, the designer of which spent time living with the Sioux Native American Tribe in the US, who fought to resist the implementation of oil pipelines in North Dakota.  Full-body uniforms constructed in buffalo plaid, often paired with fringes aplenty, were given a unique avant-garde treatment.

All in all, Abe’s recent collection stands as commentary on Americana throughout different epochs, gathering influence from the US’s various and often opposing facets. The usage of Native American themed jewelry and Hawaiian prints in contrast with a version of plaid that originated from Woolrich in Pennsylvania around 1850 can’t be coincidental, especially when paired with notation of the country’s current discussion around the media. The clothes felt important, yes, and carried connotations of “we live in troubled times.” That said, they were stunning nonetheless.

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