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Maternity depart modified Chitose Abe’s life. It was whereas she was house tending to her child daughter, Tohko, that the designer got here up with the idea of hybridization—garments that look totally different coming and going, combining, for instance, a jacket and a skirt—which has turn out to be her signature. “All I used to be sporting had been denims, chinos, V-neck sweaters, T-shirts, polo shirts,” Abe has defined. “I believed, is that this it? I began to experiment to see if I might possibly fuse two clothes—say, a sweater with a shirt.” This new mind-set about vogue can be serving to to drive it in a brand new route. So indelible is Abe’s contact that Vogue’s Sarah Mower has recommended that the designer’s “idiom has virtually damaged by way of to turn out to be a part of the frequent language of vogue.”

Abe has been fluent within the language of excessive vogue from a younger age. An awesome fan of the avant-garde, she recalled that her outfits upset her mom terribly: “She refused to exit with me, and generally even cried! However to me, vogue is a crucial a part of my life; it’s a means of expressing myself.” After incomes her diploma in Nagoya, Abe moved to Tokyo with simply “two cardboard containers” and landed a spot with a big industrial concern earlier than becoming a member of Comme des Garçons, the place she labored as a sample cutter and, later, on Junya Watanabe’s label.

She debuted her personal label, Sacai (a variation on her maiden title, Sakai), from her house with a handful of knits in 1999. She began promoting her line in Europe and the U.S. within the early aughts, and by 2009 she was exhibiting in Paris. Sacai’s menswear assortment bought its first public outing in 2009. So influential is Abe that she was rumored to be the successor to Alexander Wang at Balenciaga, a publish that finally went to Vetements’s Demna Gvasalia.

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