FEMM wear cult underground label Balmung from Japanese designer Hachi. The current A/W 2014-15 collection is inspired by virtual idol Hatsune Miku, a blank slate onto which a character is projected—a perfect match for the mannequins of FEMM. As Hachi explains, “So many people use different vessels for different characters’s traits, stories and thoughts of their own, to the point where, depending on the fashion, each observer effectively sees a different character.  When I design, I design avatars.” The designer’s voluminous shapes that envelope and exaggerate the body are in stark contrast to FEMM’s usually figure-hugging attire. Likewise, Balmung’s softer materials contrast with the harshness of rubber, which in turn offers a different interpretation of RiRi and LuLa’s identity.

FEMM’s fashion is normally the work of Shoichiro Matsuoka, who operates out of high-tech costumers GM Atelier. Each outfit creates a different character for the duo, so whether displayed as schoolgirls, French maids or clad in kimono, each changes their persona—not just for them, but for the viewer as well. This is accentuated by the use of rubber for their outfits, a staple of the alternative scene outside Japan, but one rarely used to render the standards of the Japanese subculture scene. This unique combination of familiar ensembles in alien textiles gives FEMM a genuine edge in the sea of kawaii fashion worn by their contemporaries. Watch this space.