16 Jul Review: Sacai Men’s SS19 / LOVE
Covered various men’s SS19 shows in London and Paris for Dazed, LOVE & Hero. Example below:
Once again, Chitose Abe proved herself as fashion’s very own Victor Frankenstein, serving up hybridised garments that would seem baffling on paper, but in the flesh became strangely desirable. There were technical fabrics spliced with Prince of Wales check wool that came together to form a mash-up of a mackintosh and a cycling jacket; fisherman knits abruptly cut off at the shoulder; and trench coats cut at the waist so that panels glided behind like sails. A running thread was a riff on traditional Navajo prints that began fully-formed but slowly glitched as the show went on, evolving into a chopped and screwed pattern that was later superimposed onto tartans.
Abe has an uncanny ability to take these disparate ideas and weave them into something commercial: in this case, making unlikely connections both within her references and the clothes themselves. The tribal prints came about as a collaboration with Pendleton, a historic Oregon-based textile mill best known for producing woollen Native American blankets. It traced a line through the sartorial history of America, from the heritage of its indigenous people all the way through to its 21st-century sportswear obsession. Peeking out from underneath the capes and shorts were royal blue thermals and nylon joggers — and that’s without mentioning the kaleidoscopic sneakers produced in collaboration with Nike, sure to get hypebeast pulses racing.
With Abe’s off-kilter styling it’s difficult to make out from a static image just how wearable these pieces are: straps, scarves and denim panels floated behind the models with grace and ease, and the outerwear would look fabulous on men (and women) of any body type. Her ability to bring something entirely new to the table season after season is nothing short of extraordinary: it’s that willingness to constantly experiment while still remaining grounded in everyday life that lends Sacai its curious, inexplicable magic.