Fall Preview: Grace Elizabeth in Tomo Koizumi

New Yorkers can be jaded. It’s not every day that fresh talent arrives in town and stops everyone dead in their tracks. Japanese designer Tomo Koizumi isn’t the slightest bit ordinary. His fantasy-like creations spark visions of everything from video game heroines to spools of cotton candy.

Pat McGrath did the make-up, Guido Palau did the hair, Anita Bitton did the casting, actress Rowan Blanchard opened, and Marc Jacobs offered up the space. Tomo Koizumi’s debut, standing-room-only runway show in February during New York Fashion Week was a moment for the fashion history books. Surprisingly, Koizumi isn’t a well-connected protégé of John Galliano or Rei Kawakubo, but instead a Tokyo-based costume designer, discovered on Instagram in a rare spark of social media bliss by stylist Katie Grand. Within 15 minutes of Grand and Koizumi speaking, a show was born. Karen Elson, Bella Hadid, Joan Smalls, Taylor Hill and more were sauntering around the basement of Jacobs’s Madison Avenue boutique, sporting clouds of fluorescent polyester organza. This is the designer to know now.

Tomo Koizumi Grace Elizabeth
Grace Elizabeth (Next Models) wears top and skirt Tomo Koizumi, shoes Mikhael Kale, socks Lou Dallas, on eyes Estée Lauder Sweet Beauty Lavender Eyes

V Tell us a bit about your first show in New York. What was the most memorable moment?

TOMO KOIZUMI Everything was so unreal to me. People involved with the show are very well-known in this industry. I was super happy, but a bit nervous. Katie [Grand] handled everything. Last time I was in New York for the Met Gala, I met many people at the party and most knew my show and designs. It really surprised me.

V We know you have an affinity for fantasy. Tell us about the fantasy you’re creating. What does the world of Tomo Koizumi look like?

TK Harmony—tons of colors and feminine details. I don’t want to make [difficult garments]. I’m making dresses [in order to share] my aesthetic with the world. I’m designing dresses for images.

V What are some of your influences?

TK I’m inspired by John Galliano’s Dior Haute Couture [collections], Buddhist statues, ancient Japanese royal costumes, colors of modern paintings. Exaggerated and harmonized things. I can feel something religious from them and I want to create something [similar].

V Many of your creations have incredible volume. What draws you to these shapes?

TK I’ve been working as a costume designer for more than seven years. I need to create a dramatic moment for the stage. That’s why I always make dramatic shapes and colors. I want to make people excited to see pictures with my dresses.

V Who is your ideal woman?

TK Any woman with attitude.

V What do you hope for next?

TK I hope I can make something meaningful in the world. My team is really small. I’d really like to work with a big commercial company—ideally we can produce more wearable pieces soon.

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