“Pericura is me deconstructed,” says the DJ and performance artist Alice Longyu Gao when describing her art installation meets salon inside the MOXY NYC Times Square Hotel. The space is open from Feb. 10-14th and offers Japanese beauty services inspired by Manga and ‘90s Kawaii style — the kind you truly won’t find anywhere else in New York City.
Walking into Pericura 2.0, you’ll be greeted by a fuzzy pink carpet and possibly the most Instagrammable scene of New York Fashion Week: synchronized lucky cats waving to you, and a sculpture inspired by Shintoism covered in hundreds of pink fortune cookies that guests are free to take. She personally made sure all of the fortunes inside were positive, to match the vibe of her art installation.
Gao previously did a similar installation in Miami for Art Basel (hence the 2.0) and was inspired to bring the same thing here for Fashion Week. She named the pop-up Pericura after the Japanese photo booths that lets you add makeup, stickers and Kawaii details so, obviously, the nail artist Mei Kawajiri is also on hand (the genius behind Tom Ford, Balenciaga and Philipp Plein’s nails on the runway among others) doing insanely intricate manicures inspired by the Japanese cartoon the The Rose of Versailles, while hair stylist Kahh Spence is available to make your hair manga style, following one of the choices Longyu sketched. Think: fluffy spiral curls and bangs or volumized space buns.
When we stopped by, Kawajiri did a complex gel mani covered in mini pearls, religious icons, golden hearts and then hand-painted accent nails with pop-y cartoon faces. Guests can choose from various designs (handpainted rainbow styles that read "Dream," or sequined pink versions covered in pearls, which Kawajiri designed with Gao specifically for Pericura 2.0. "My inspiration is Alice," she said, smiling. As for Gao, she said she's "the president of Mei's fan club."
While Pericura 2.0 is open to the public, the beauty services are available by appointment only and start at $100 for hotel guests (and go up to $150 for non hotel guests).
Gao also brought the Japanese stylist and designer Etsuna Otsuka to the space, who brought her rare one-of-kind pieces to Pericura 2.0 to sell. Otsuka is also offering accessories workshops to learn how to make her jewelry. Think: pretty pearls or heart-shaped earrings with resin cast roses and glitter. As for her clothing, it plays into the theme created by Longyu. Otsuka sources vintage pieces and adds ruffles and tulle to make them her own.
“I don’t know how I got this way,” says Longyu, her hands decked out in butterfly and macaron-shapes rings, her hair pink and her eye makeup (she uses stage makeup daily) a mini rainbow with glitter accents. "It's my response to people's questions like 'oh, where do you get your outfit? Why you're so weird? Why you behave like that?'" she said, on the concept of the installation.
"I want to transform that manifestation energy to people," Gao says, motioning to her pink sculptures. "I mean at the end of the day, this whole installation is about to encourage people to be bold, to discover their own space in that universe cause I think that's very important cause I feel like everyday everybody is just trying to adapt themselves into something else, and that's not going to work."
Pericura 2.0 is open at the MOXY NYC Times Square through Feb. 14th.