An Ode to Sade, by Sacai’s Chitose Abe

Pin It
Self-portrait by Chitose Abe

Speaking in AnOther Magazine Spring/Summer 2021, the Japanese designer exalts the legendary singer

This article is taken from the Spring/Summer 2021 issue of AnOther Magazine. To celebrate our 20th anniversary, we are making the issue free and available digitally for a limited time only to all our readers wherever you are in the world. Sign up here.

“Whenever I collaborate with a company or an artist, it’s always a very personal process. I’ve been a big fan of Sade for a long time. She’s not only a legendary singer but a strong woman and a wonderful person, too. We created a T-shirt printed with a portrait of her by Albert Watson for Spring/Summer 2021, and profits from its sale will go to charity. Her voice can be soft and delicate, but when I listen to her music I really feel her strength. It reminds me that I also want to be a powerful woman. Her song Kiss of Life, which we used during the show, has always been one of my favourites. I was much younger when it came out, so it brings back lots of memories from when I first discovered her. When we held the show in Japan some of the younger people in the audience didn’t know who Sade was, others hadn’t heard her music for a while and found it nostalgic to listen to. It made for a very emotional show.”

Chitose Abe founded her label Sacai – so called after her maiden name, Sakai – in 1999. In the 22 years since, she has taken it from being a small knitwear brand based in her Tokyo apartment to a globally acclaimed label known for its technical, ‘hybridised’ garments and singular collaborations – this season with Sade. At the Spring/Summer 2021 show, held at the Enoura Observatory of the Odawara Art Foundation, an hour and a half’s drive west of Tokyo, the heavens opened over the runway. It was during Japan’s typhoon season and though some rain had been anticipated, Abe had not expected such a downpour. “It was funny because the rain stopped just after the show,” she says. “The place was very beautiful with the stones and the rain – I think it was meant to rain.” Having been invited to be the first guest designer of Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture last year, Abe will present her collection this July, pandemic permitting.

This article originally featured in the Spring/Summer 2021 issue of AnOther Magazine which will be on sale from 8 April, 2021. Pre-order a copy here and sign up for free access to the issue here.