Fashion / Style

Virtual Unknown Steals the Fashion Week Buzz — and Top Models and Game of Thrones Stars Can’t Get Enough

Inside the Show Everyone in New York is Talking About

BY // 02.13.19
photography Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

NEW YORK — For Tomo Koizumi, it’s a fashion week fantasy dream come true. The virtually unknown 30-year-old Japanese designer has become the toast of the fashion world with his pastel fuzzball creations.

Such heavyweights as Marc Jacobs, celebrity stylist Katie Grand, and top makeup artist Pat McGrath jumped in to help him stage his first-ever runway show, which Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue and other respected publications jumped in to gush about.

And it all happened so fast.

Koizumi is known in Japan as a costume designer for Asian pop stars and even once designed an outfit for Lady Gaga. But he really wasn’t much of a fashion force until Grand discovered him on Instagram about a month ago and brought him to New York for his show, held in the Marc Jacobs store on Madison Avenue.

Invitations for the New York Fashion Week show went out overnight by email and attracted a standing-room-only audience. Guests lined the walls in the store’s basement and gaped at top models like Bella Hadid, Joan Smalls, Emily Ratajkowski, Karen Elson, and Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie as they gingerly navigated a steep stairway in miles of colorful polyester organza ruffles.

Christie, in particular, deserved special kudos for descending the precarious stairs in an extravagant bell bottom jumpsuit with a sweeping train while wearing platform heels. At times, it seemed like the actress, who portrays Brienne of Tarth in the HBO series, might topple over, but she eventually completed her runway duties, much to the crowd’s relief.

“I can’t help but think of Lucille Ball doing her bit as a showgirl with a heavy headpiece,” one observer wrote when I posted a video of Christie descending the stairs on my Facebook page.

Other choice comments included, “Just a cascade of colorful ruffled tumble dry without a Bounce sheet” and this is what happens “when all the characters on Sesame Street get into a brawl.” And a friend observed, “I think you use it to dry mop the floor. First you walk across the room and then you roll. It’s a Walk and Roll couture cleaning system.”

Sure, the looks are largely unwearable and after a while seem really repetitive. But at a time when New York Fashion Week seems increasing calculated and devoid of any spontaneity, it’s refreshing to see a designer having fun.

And that alone, is cause for celebration.

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