After a three-year hiatus, A Sai Ta returned to the runway last season with impressive self-assurance, which he arrived at partly by spending his fashion fallow period experimenting in a variety of other mediums, including art and film. It was this same emboldened spirit that led Ta to make an unexpected choice this season. In lieu of the head-spinningly eclectic range of shapes and textures from collections past, he honed in on a single technique: a weave of fabric strands, either twisted into dense sculptural clumps or woven into skin-baring netting.
“I think I have a tendency to mix and match a lot of ideas, and I realized that actually just focusing on one element and really pushing it could be interesting,” Ta said after the show. “It’s also about having the confidence that I am going to have more shows, and so I can be a bit more specific in each one.” A bit more specific—and a bit more sexy? “Yeah, this one’s definitely a lot more about revealing the body,” he added, laughing.
Those weaves were the star of the show, but there was a handful of other elements too, including an off-the-shoulder riff on Ta’s cult favorite “hot wok” tops and stringy, elasticated mesh pieces that resembled swimwear—which, come to think of it, is a category Ta could really make a killing in if he decided to turn his hand to it. When it came to color, he swung for the fences. The opening look was a mango explosion, before cycling through combinations of lurid pink and purple, acid-laced yellow and green, and a wonky two-piece in the shade of raspberry ripple ice cream. “I tried not to overthink it,” Ta said of his approach to color. “It was just about being really instinctual.” Sure, you’d have to be pretty brave to wear them—but thankfully, that’s exactly the kind of customer Asai attracts.
Ta’s return to his instincts also had something to do with how his show was programmed this season: the Fashion East talent incubator scheme (of which Ta is a particularly beloved alumnus) has recently begun inviting designers to appear as special guests. “Showing here reminded me of my first time at Fashion East, and just made me feel a bit more creative about it,” Ta said, referring to how he put the collection together. “I think the pieces mimicked the energy I was feeling.” Clearly, that feeling was electric.