All Ruffled Up

Two of the prettiest bags from what’s been called a “cult” collaboration—Sacai X Tomo Koizumi. And they’re unisex

Even if the It bag is not quite back, statement bags are, well, making quite a statement. The collaboration between Sacai and compatriot Tomo Koizumi is now one of the buzziest partnerships Chitose Abe has taken on (other than her approaching debut under Jean Paul Gaultier Couture). Both Japanese designers have transformed a simple ovaloid shape into a fluffed-up ruff in gradated colours that could be mistaken for oversized haute shower puffs. Amazingly, despite its delicate form, the bags are marketed to guys as well. Aptly 2021? In in one of the promotional images—released by Sacai—that featured ten ‘regular’ folks as models, exactly half are men, and each is carrying one of these tutus-disguised-as-bags, masculinity intact.

Tomo Koizumi is quite the star of the current group of rising Japanese designers. As the popular telling goes, Mr Koizumi was “discovered” by British stylist and Love mag’s EIC Katie Grand through fellow countryman Giles Deacon. He was tagged “breakout star” when he debuted his autumn/winter 2019 collection in New York, in the Marc Jacobs Madison Avenue store. Through Ms Grand, the who’s who of New York fashion supported and attended the event. International acclaim followed. He would go on to be the co-winner of the 2020 LVMH Prize (the €300,000 award was split equally among the eight finalists). In Asia, Mr Koizumi’s work gained tremendous traction from the time Hong Kong songbird Miriam Yeung (杨千嬅) commissioned the designer to create her 2019 world tour and Thai editor and socialite Nichapat Suphap wore a custom Koizumi dress to the Met Gala of the same year, themed Camp.

Initially launched in China last year, as part of the Hello Sacai pop-up’s special merchandise, the bags, available in three colours, have finally reached our shore. The crunchy ruffles are made of Japanese polyester organza and holds their fluffiness well, even after hugging them or leaning on them, like one would against a cushion. The tote bag (that’s what it’s called) comes with cowhide handles that sit comfortably in the crook of your arm, but aren’t long enough to go on the shoulder. It does, however, come with a slim, adjustable strap—also in cowhide—that can be attached to the tote for crossbody use.

By contrast, the more compact bum bag has more of Sacai’s sense of hybridisation. It sports details that reflect Ms Abe’s love of military wear. Here, the organza ombré gathers are paired with a nylon belt (on which kindred straps and hardware are afixed) that looks like shoulder straps dismembered from a backpack issued as part of the SBO during National Service! Strapped across the chest, it has a frou-frou front, but on the back, a totally tough-looking harness. Totally captivating.

Sacai X Tomo Koizumi tote, SGD1, 930, and belted pouch, SGD820, are available at Sacai, Hilton Shopping Gallery. Beware: many are sold out. Photos: Sacai

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