When Junichi Abe has a choice to make, he always chooses both. His fashion, similar to that of wife Chitose Abe's of Sacai and many of their fellow bricolaging Japanese designers, favors "and" over "or." It makes his collections a treat to turn over, backward and inside out, though it occasionally means one season can look much like the next.
Abe resists separating his collections by inspiration, too. He collects photos, and then dredges his scrapbooks for inspiration. "This is in, this is out," he said, as he mimed separating the wheat from the chaff. "I'm looking for my mind."
Fall's photo was of a group of people all standing around together. It's a mark of Abe's off-kilter eye that a picture of togetherness stirred thoughts instead of individuality. He wanted to celebrate freedom, he said—which is to say, the or in the and.
This season, he embraced some of the totems of trad. There were traditional menswear patterns like plaid and gunwale check, and professorial details like elbow patches stitched to jacket sleeves. But
a push one way at Kolor results in a pull another. That gunwale check was doubled, on one memorable parka, with a hairy, faintly animal-print polka-dot Abe designed himself. The elbow patches seemed to spore: Patches cropped up on shoulders and backs, too. Even the casting of men at a men's show was called into question. Following a growing trend at menswear this season, Abe slipped a lone girl into the ranks.