Sacai Spring 2017 Menswear Collection
This was Chitose Abe’s first ever Sacai men’s runway show. That’s patently untrue in the wider scheme of things, but true in that it’s the first Abe has attended in person, to acknowledge the applause at the end.
At a time when other designers are bowing out of doing menswear shows, it was interesting to see such a vehement commitment, both in terms of the designer’s presence on the runway and in her obvious involvement in the design studio. Abe’s clothes are by no means simple—they’re worked, complicated, and thought out. Often, when watching the show, it can take a minute or two to figure out exactly how it all works—where the pockets sit, where the buttonholes are, if that’s a sweater, or a shirt, or kind of both? That’s the conundrum of Sacai’s trademark hybrid garments.
You’d never figure the quiet, cerebral Abe to be a fan of a bit of the old ultra-violence, though. Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was a point of reference for her Spring 2017 collection, with low-pulled bowler-style hats, Nadsat terms like “oddy-knocky” and “horrowshow” [sic] printed across T-shirts. One look—dead-white bomber and skinny pants above heavy bovver boots—eerily channeled Kubrickian scenes. Those undertones gave a different context to the utilitarian bent of this outing. And, as opposed to the complexity of the dystopian linguistic gymnastics that characterized Anthony Burgess’s original novel, these clothes were relatively simple.
Abe rinsed out some of the extraneous design tricksiness inherent in her sartorial crossbreeds, so a jacket did single-duty as just that. The collection was still broad and the looks multilayered, but it was easier to imagine yanking everything apart into individual pieces.