Let’s face it, digital fashion week is a sort of stunted shorthand for the immersive and passionate experience of experiencing fashion in the flesh. Anyone who has ever attended a Tomo Koizumi live show—really more like a performance—in the Marc Jacobs store on Madison Avenue in New York knows the chills that a proper fashion moment can create, whether its Gwendoline Christie holding court in cascades of rainbow tulle or Ariel Nicholson dramatically emoting with her hair jutting straight up like Cindy-Lou Who.
When Tomo announced that he would be producing a lookbook only this season, I felt, I admit, a sharp pang of sadness. If there was anything worth donning a mask and leaving my apartment for, it’s Koizumi’s joyous confections. But the good news is he can create a lookbook that is just as mind-bogglingly fun.
Photographed in Japan, Koizumi’s new collection continues to blend aspects of traditional Japanese culture with an eccentric exuberance. Upon collaborating with a bridal company, he found inspiration in wedding traditions, crafting white gowns with explosions of tulle around their busts, hems, even the entire dress. These more dressed-up pieces, for all their pomp and formality, might actually be some of Koizumi’s most wearable—there are plenty of brides who’d love to be covered in layers of wild tulle.
The second section of his spring 2021 collection is a continuation of the rainbow-hued party clothes that originally made Koizumi famous in Japan. (Long before Western fashion caught on, Koizumi was dressing Lady Gaga and J-Pop groups like Perfume.) Photographed at night, this series of taffeta bodysuits, crop tops, and minis are made with a new ruffling technique, so instead of classic zig-zags, the fabric reads more dimensional, like a flower or a starburst. These, too, feel expressly wearable, like miniature iterations of his oversized jumpsuits and popular egg-shaped capes. What’s more, this entire season is made from deadstock fabric that Koizumi sourced in Tokyo, making it as sustainable as it is fab.
While I—and I’m sure many other fashion lovers would love to see these over-the-top garments live in person, the freedom to produce on his own scale and show at his own pace is only fueling Koizumi’s creativity. “I’m really happy with it—and no stress!” he said with a laugh. “I just keep doing my own thing, I like my designs, and I’m not pushed to do different [things].” Independence has paid off. He has a number of exciting new projects in the future, including a capsule for Emilio Pucci.