Chitose Abe has lately been confronting a situation experienced by all super-influential designers: how to satisfy shoppers who are perfectly thrilled with her status quo (so much so that a hundred copycats at the high and low ends of the price spectrum have sprung up in her wake) and how to sufficiently challenge herself.

For Fall, she came up with something that echoes the mash-ups that she’s known for but subtly pushed her vocabulary forward. Instead of back-to-front hybrids, Abe experimented with silhouette, taking men’s-sized garments and shrinking them down for a woman’s form. To get a sense of what we’re talking about, study the first coat that hit the runway. See the way the shoulders are dropped and the sleeves extend almost to the tips of the fingers? She liked the oversize proportion and the way those dropped seams created a broader but rounder and softer silhouette.

The shape carried over into most of her outerwear, which was a sensation as usual, with generous tufts of fur peeking out from the collars, cuffs, and sleeves of wool and tweed coats. And she also used it for softer pieces like scarf-print dresses and knitwear. Abe sliced and diced every last shred of tradition out of her fisherman sweaters, adding cable-knit sleeves to a shirtdress that retained the masculine proportion of a man’s flannel shirt or combining them with cotton poplin to create flirtier numbers.

In the end, the newness here was of the incremental sort, which explains the backstage excitement around a leather parka with a wild mane of macramé fringe. Its earthiness was a bit of a one-off here, and it suggested Abe might have something crafty up her sleeve for next season. The other big development came at the end of the show in the form of three looks made from a blanket stripe wool in hard-to-miss neon pink, yellow, and green. It’s been a while since Abe embraced color so wholeheartedly; we wouldn’t mind seeing more of it.

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