Whatever is going on in fashion, Sacai somehow manages to jumble all the best bits into a delightful microcosm of it. In her inimitable Japanese way, Chitose Abe has softened, detailed, and miniaturized the utilitywear, shirtdresses, sporty gray marl, raw edges, tulle, frills, and metallics in the air for Spring. Prime example: In a season of kilts, her fresh, preppy madras-checked cotton skirts with multiple layers of fan-pleated fins at the sides are potential qualifiers for Best in Class.
Abe's knack involves subtly combining fabrics. The front of a garment is rarely the same as the back (knits with sheer chiffon panels), and a piece that begins as one thing at the top often becomes something else at the bottom (a shirt ends up with a tutu-ish skirt, a trench turns into a shirt, etc.). This approach means that her things cause comments of the "I can't believe I've discovered this" kind at stores like Dover Street Market. She learned her methods at Comme des Garçons, specialized in knitwear working under Junya Watanabe, and has patiently been building up a following over ten years. Given those kilts, though, maybe next season won't be quite as quiet as before.