Kissa-Seibu is a traditional kissaten (Japanese coffee shop) in Shinjuku that looks like it hasn’t been renovated since it opened in Over*). With its old-world charm, it’s a popular spot for Tokyo’s cool kids, but it’s closing its doors later this year. On a cloudy Monday afternoon, every seat in the house was filled, but no banana parfait was served.
“I never liked being on the runway runway, with the headlights and everything,” says designer Yueqi Qi. “I like places that have a story behind them.” So the -year-old sent her cast of models down the aisles of the cafe.
This is Qi’s first time in Tokyo – where she usually presents her collections at Shanghai Fashion Week – and the collection continues the astrological theme she’s been exploring since last season . For this series, she rethought the linear trajectory of time, mixing psychedelic 1960 references with Y2K sensibility, while Japanese words for past, present and future echoed through the speakers. The invitation to perform in Tokyo came from longtime Qi collaborator Tomihiro Kono, a Japanese hairstylist who created the show’s incredible cyberpunk-inspired wigs.
Aside from anachronisms, there are many hellish details in Yueqi Qi’s designs; a stint as a Chanel intern inspired her innovative craft. Here, laser-cut plastic beaded mesh takes on the sophistication of the lace aesthetic, while scattered sequins and crochet elevate the more wearable staple. Elsewhere, oversized denim jackets and ’76’s sweatpants unzipped at the legs and sleeves to reveal a printed solar system hidden inside, giving the impression that the garments themselves contains the universe.
Singer Kom_I, who announced her pregnancy on Instagram this week, is the star of the show, her baby bump glistening and sparkling. She and Qi follow each other online, but their first IRL meeting was a happy coincidence in Tokyo a few months ago: “I ran into her by chance at a hair salon and asked her to model,” Qi says. A signal from the universe, if there is one.