Mirrors galore at Sacai's DSM display here

Japanese designer Chitose Abe says Singapore's hot weather may have given her some inspiration.
Japanese designer Chitose Abe says Singapore's hot weather may have given her some inspiration.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Japanese label Sacai, known for its quirky mismatched style, is one of the brands in Dover Street Market's Singapore line-up.

Its founder Chitose Abe, 51, who was in Singapore earlier this week to check out the site, says that her space at the Dempsey Road outlet will be unique.

Unlike at the other DSMs, where her label is also stocked, this outlet, says the Japanese designer, will have a different feel.

"The other Sacai spaces are back-dropped by a blank wall. But here the label's space will be surrounded by other brands," she says. "Our space - a hybrid of vintage interiors mixed with more modern grilles - will also have a lot of mirrors, these will reflect the other brands' visual displays and merchandise that are around us."

"The mirrors create an unexpected visual hybrid of brands. Like a new combination of labels depending on how you look at the reflections," says the edgy designer.

Her label is known for combining articles of clothing into a single spliced piece and for using fabrics created specially for the brand. An asymmetric skirt with mismatched fabric from the label is priced at $1,190, while a bandana patterned shirt costs $490. Sacai fans include designer Karl Lagerfeld and fashion editor Anna Wintour. The brand is also a regular at Paris Fashion Week and has more than 90 international stockists.

Abe worked at Comme des Garcons as a pattern-cutter under the brand's founder Rei Kawakubo before starting Sacai in 1999. Despite their decade-long relationship, Abe says she does not know why Singapore was chosen for the latest DSM incarnation.

"That's why I wanted to come here. I wanted to personally come and feel the atmosphere of Singapore. It is not something that you can just ask Rei," she says.

Having explored Tanglin Village, she says that DSM fits right in.

"DSM is the only high fashion outlet in this area, but the location fits the DSM style. Even for its other locations in London and New York and Tokyo, DSM always opens in places where there is usually nothing else but DSM," she says, referencing the far-flung locations.

This would not be the first risky move that Kawakubo has made.

Last year, due to increasing rental rates, DSM London surprised the fashion world by moving from its successful location at Mayfair to Haymarket, dubbed a "retail dead zone". DSM New York, similarly, is located in Lexington Avenue, an area that is not known for being a trendy fashion district.

Abe thinks that the Singapore store's strong identity will attract shoppers despite its out-of-the- way location.

"I think this will become a destination and it has the power and potential to draw people here," she says.

Meanwhile, the married mother- of-one says she is open to working with Singapore designers.

"There might be opportunities. When I collaborate with a label or designer, it is always something personal for me. If I have the chance to meet a designer like this in Singapore then of course we can work together," she says.

The designer adds that Singapore's hot weather might have given her some ideas for her next collection.

"Since I'm working on the spring- summer collection that I will present in October, I think being in this hot climate might give me some inspiration."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2017, with the headline 'Mirrors galore at Sacai's DSM display here'. Print Edition | Subscribe