A small benefit of the upside down digital fashion week schedule is that a New Yorker can now be awoken by a Tomo Koizumi show. In the wee hours of my morning, Koizumi was half the globe around, staging a show in Kyoto’s Nijo Castle. The scene, even on the small screen of my iPhone was a blast: models in fluorescent dresses walking against a dark Japanese sky. New converts to the technicolor world of Koizumi will be arrested by the visual impact of his work: dresses supersized yet gentle, their stark silhouettes belied by the grace with which they move.
In addition to their singular aesthetic, Koizumi’s creations this season also have deep meaning. He spent part of the year traveling around Kyoto, one of Japan’s oldest cities, to meet with traditional craftspeople and enlist their help on his collection. It’s a way not only to grow the Koizumi imprint, but to keep traditions alive. Beadwork, embroidery, and paint treatments are all new here, with images of cranes, phoenixes, lions, dragons, and more stitched into bodices for their talismanic potential. His organza, too, is new—or rather old, made of recycled bottles—and he’s made use of vintage kimono fabrics in the collection as well. Together it’s a more eclectic vision than we’re used to from an aesthetic purist like Koizumi, but experimentation is sure to lead him to new heights.