At Sacai's S/S 14 show back in September in Paris, sitting in front of me was Alexandra Shulman from British Vogue and across in the circular "bubble" formation seating, were all the American Vogue editors. Actually, there were generally press biggies all around, which was a good indication of Sacai's ascent in the fashion industry, in addition to the massive big-up from Karl Lagerfeld earlier in the year. From buyer's secret to editor's secret, to err… nobody's secret because judging by the amount of Sacai, one can find internationally, everybody's been bitten by the Sacai bug. It's not just an insider love-in either. The customer can't get enough either as both Selfridges and Dover Street Market are reportedly selling out of their stock of Sacai. But as this enlightening Business of Fashion profile with Sacai designer Chitose Abe tells you, Sacai's success was by no means overnight. Everyone would like to try and claim Sacai was their "little secret" and whilst I'm certainly not the first, what with my regular trips back to Hong Kong, Sacai had since my uni days long been on my radar as the Japanese brand that packs a lot of deets into their clothes without ever looking too conceptual. At the time, they were way out of my budget but eBay or Yahoo HK auctions would sometimes yield a piece or two. What has and still strikes me as the key to Sacai's desirability is the fact that they get their fashion sums right – adding something familiar like an Oxford shirt together with something unxpected like a metallic foil collar or a back shirt tail so that the basic Oxford shirt at xxx price suddenly becomes worth it. It could be my Chinese mother within me speaking but gauging whether something is "worth it" is the basis of how I do pretty much all my shopping.
The "Worth it!" ker-ching sounds in your head go off in explosions when you're inside Sacai's store in Aoyama in Tokyo (still the best selection of Sacai, despite its international presence). Every piece in a Sacai show is produced and makes it to shop floor (none of that expensive show piece, didn't make it to production malarky) and there's more to boot, with Sacai Luck, its more casual line and the very excellent menswear line also there to tempt you. Nothing feels like filler and everything has something that catches your eye and immediately gets the "Worth it!" nod. Abe's way with hybrid-ing garments, contrasting fabrics (that Sacai has specially made for them in Japan – another key to the "specialness" of their clothes) and ensuring there are enough design details in every garment to elevate them means that you're unlikely to leave the store empty handed (oh, and the ¬£ to Yen rate just so happened to be extra favourable at the time). I thought I'd spell it out with a few of the pieces that are slowly accumulating in my collection of Sacai. Sadly I couldn't include the most sentimental Sacai piece of all – a mangled paisley print skirt dripping with a knitted chain hem, which I found a few years ago – the piece that came before all the Sacai international hub-hub began. But in Sacai's work from ten years ago, to five years ago and to the present day, nothing has really changed – it's all worth it.
Worn with Minju Kim for H&M wedges
Worn with Pollini wedges