Tomo Koizumi is so thankful for his NYFW debut that he thinks of it as a “big gift.” In short, it was a whirlwind, an unexpected fashion week fixture that was nothing short of spectacular, despite the fact that Koizumi was only invited to show his collection three weeks before, without an official slot on the schedule.
Koizumi’s debut was quite simply astonishing, taking place in the basement of Marc Jacobs’ Madison Avenue store and featuring 28 models including Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Gwendoline Christie, and Joan Smalls. The show went viral, crowning Koizumi the breakout star of AW19.
Whilst editors were left wondering whether they’d witnessed the peak performance of the season within the first week (a rarity when considering the usual NYFW line-up), Koizumi was left wide-eyed and thankful for the wonders worked by stylist and editor-in-chief of Love magazine, Katie Grand.
It all started at 3am in Tokyo
Koizumi received a direct message on Instagram that read: “Literally the best thing I’ve seen in years.”
“I had been asleep and I happened to check my Instagram, where I saw a message from Katie Grand,” he explains. “I was so shocked I almost cried. We spoke and I felt so happy and encouraged by her words, but super nervous at the same time.”
Initially discussing the idea of an exhibition, within a matter of minutes, Grand and Koizumi moved on to the possibility of London Fashion Week show, cooking up a concept in a quickfire text chat. “Do you have 18 looks?” asked Grand, to which Koizumi replied, “Yes, I can bring them and I can include my archive.”
Three weeks before, Grand got back in touch with Koizumi to confirm that the show would be in New York, taking place at Jacobs’ store and she called in her model army, Pat McGrath for the make-up, and Guido Palau to handle the hair.
Koizumi’s dresses are from a different world. “I grew up in the countryside in Japan, in Chiba just next to Tokyo,” he explains. “I have so many memories of the colours I experienced in nature as a child, and they’ve inspired my designs.” Growing up in a remote region, it was upon discovering photographs of John Galliano’s Dior Haute Couture Spring 2004 collection at the age of 14, that Koizumi decided he had no choice but to become a designer. “It was a really intense moment for me,” he explains. “After that I started teaching myself to make clothes. I didn’t study fashion, but I was always into the fantasy of it.”
Koizumi’s psychedelic, super-ruffled dresses are testament to this. Crafted from Japanese polyester organza – taking colour cues from “abstract paintings and the colours of the sky”, each avant-garde dress that Koizumi designs for his “magical girl” is solely his vision. He’s a one-man show, creating his own patterns and sewing his own samples, always trying to evolve his signature style.
When it comes to his next move, Koizumi is looking to take things slow. “I don’t think I can have a big fashion show myself after that,” he explains. “I’m so encouraged by the show and everything that happened after it, that I want to take some time to digest, while working on some looks for the Met Gala too!”