Junichi Abe’s Kolor took an unexpected turn for Fall/Winter 2024, shifting from the tribal exuberance of spring to a subdued meditation on sartorial mastery. Gone were the exuberant piles of garments and bold patchwork; instead, Abe embraced a newfound restraint, crafting a collection that whispered elegance through refined tailoring and meticulous detailing.
Descending the central escalators of the Sorbonne University, the models embodied this change. Gone were the casual sportswear vibes of spring, replaced by crisp silhouettes rendered in classic wool blazers, cardigans and trench coats. A muted palette of dark greens, grays and beiges served as the canvas for Abe’s artistry, where rich embellishments took center stage. Delicate gold filigree adorned pockets and jacket hems, while glass beads added subtle shimmer to plaids, all within the confines of traditional shapes. This wasn’t about radical reinvention; it was about elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary through meticulous craftsmanship.
Volume, when it dared to appear, was achieved through thick textiles, a breath of fresh air in the otherwise restrained ambience of the collection. Pops of colour came not from the clothes themselves, but from shoulder bags in unexpected bursts of pink, a playful nod to Abe’s ongoing dialogue with the reworking of familiar garments. This season, the designer emphasized that even subtle touches on classic pieces can be profound expressions of his “masterpiece” philosophy.
Backstage, Abe struggled to put the collection’s quiet subversion into words. “Parsing clothes can sometimes do them a disservice,” he mused, acknowledging the limitations of language in capturing the essence of his creations. The clothes themselves, however, spoke volumes. The balance of construction in garments like duffel coats and classic shirts was subtly destabilized – a missing collar here, an offset collar there – just enough to pique curiosity without veering into dramatic territory.
Workwear jackets spliced with quilted layers, peacoats adorned with tuxedo lapels, varsity jackets with shifted ribbing – each piece exuded a distinct character, enhanced by unexpected flourishes such as flashes of jewels and gold embroidery. Abe himself wore the original prototype for the painted chinos that graced the runway, a testament to his commitment to iterative design and artistic evolution.
“I’m a designer, a production designer, a clothing designer,” Abe replied when asked if he considered himself an artist. But in his constant quest to challenge the conventional, Abe transcends mere labels. Kolor Fall/Winter 2024 is a masterclass in subtle subversion, a whispered revolution that elevates the everyday through meticulous craftsmanship and a discerning eye for detail. It’s a collection that begs not just to be worn, but to be experienced, a quiet masterpiece that slowly reveals its depths with each closer look.