Sacai was founded by Chitose Abe in 1999 and is now a luxury fashion label distributed globally. The brand has an ethos of using innovative techniques and experimentation, emphasising shape and form through bias cuts and reinterpreted patterns and prints. Before founding her own line, Abe worked for Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons and then with Junya Watanabe. While Abe’s collections may appear to be about femininity, her interest is in creating clothes that are entirely unique and timeless, playing with juxtapositions of fabric textures, such as knits with super-fine weaves. An array of prizes is testimony to Sacai’s success; Abe won the Mainichi Newspaper Grand Prix fashion award in 2007 and 2015, and was named designer of the year by the Fashion Editorʼs Club of Japan in 2009.
Abe owns 100% of her business, which allows her complete creative freedom and enables her to go down any commercial avenue she chooses. ‘My collections are based purely on my creative instincts,’ she told Business of Fashion. ‘Maybe I’m an idealist, but I am a firm believer that if you’re producing well-designed products at the right price your business is destined to flourish.’
In addition to the Sacai main line, the Sacai Luck collection was introduced as a lingerie range in autumn 2006. It soon expanded and since spring/summer 2010 has included loungewear. Sacai Luck is characterised by unexpected combinations of materials and an exquisite balance of light and delicate fabrics, such as tulle, silk and cotton. The Sacai menʼs collection was launched in spring 2009. It is based on the same philosophy as the women’s range and has a similar approach, consisting of carefully crafted staples imbued with a touch of elegance.
Sacai describes its signature aesthetic as being ‘explored through the prism of insanity and being unencumbered by what is rational’. It cites ‘the unreasoned gesture of a cut, splicing familiar clothing archetypes and then reassembling ideas in pairings that challenge convention’.
In her pre-fall 2017 collection, Abe takes traditional pieces and updates them with hidden decorative details that are there for the wearer’s pleasure rather than to satisfy an audience; for example, a studded punk biker collar, and a decorative braid applied to a gun-club check blazer. A digi-camo flight suit is worn under a classic overcoat. The utility of a work shirt is subverted with decorative ceremonial braid.
Abe mixes feminine silhouettes with classic menswear and tailoring. Traditional gun-club check is used in a lace military jacket silhouette; an M2B aviator jacket becomes a skirt worn with a chiffon-trimmed fisherman’s sweater; and a men’s pea-coat is crossed with a woman’s fur-coat.
The Sacai collection is available in 35 stores in Japan and 90 shops worldwide.
Mitsukoshi, 4 -6-16 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061, +81 (0)3 3562 1111