Some designers find inspiration in traveling, interiors, or even books. But Chinese-born designer Sensen Lii prefers finding beauty in the unknown. Through his label Windowsen, which debuted in 2018, Lii turns his obsession with aliens and outer space into some seriously striking frocks, like his gigantic tulle gowns. Whether it’s his couture or ready-to-wear line, the designer finds a thrill in transforming his customers from mere humans to extraterrestrials from a planet where it’s common to wear bug-eye shades or grotesque heels. “I hope to create another dimension—an alternate reality where things may function differently from the space we inhabit,” Lii tells Vogue. “No boundaries, no judges, and each person is encouraged to be the way they are.”
Lii, who is now based in Antwerp, is known for his extravagant custom, voluminous dresses armed with a space-age feel. His work has even begun catching the eye of some big stars, who share his eye for the unconventional. He recently worked with Doja Cat for one, on her “Need to Know” music video: her dancers were painted green like aliens, and wore Windowsen’s honking platform shoes. “The concept of her new album is just so in line with the brand,” says Lii. “I figured that the theme would probably be futuristic, but still when I saw the result, it was so impressive. Beyond!” But his first ready-to-wear collection, for fall 2021 and aptly titled Black Mirror, offers more wearable pieces that are just as wacky and fun: think futuristic-sleeved jackets and conceptual faux fur dresses. Forget Hot Girl Summer—it’s all about a Hot Alien Summer! “I believe in Aliens, of course,” Lii says. “I watch some Youtube channels that [explore] alien lives and discoveries. I find it very interesting and inspiring.”
Given the collection has an avant-garde feel, Lii also makes use of innovative production methods, like 3-D printing to make his samples. (Due to quality and durability issues, he doesn’t use the method for the actual final products). The samples for the shapely sunglasses, jewelry, and shoes in his latest collection were 3-D printed, then embellished by Lii afterwards. “When I have the 3-D image of the shoe, I [can] print it out and see how it is in real life, and if anywhere needs to improve or adjust,” Lii explains.
Lii will also blend elements of his Chinese heritage into the martian-like designs. “My culture background may not show explicitly in my designs, but it has put its indelible influence in me when I construct the collections,” he says. In his 2021 couture collection, titled Barbie with the Chinese Zodiac, he did that by reinventing the 12 traditional Chinese zodiac signs and applied them onto frothy gowns. “But I replaced [them] with the creatures I personally like, such as Pandas and Chinese Lions,” he says.
With his new ready-to-wear line, he hopes that all of us can consider dressing just a little bit weirder. “It doesn’t have to be now,” Lii says. “It can be any time, any moment, depending on individuals. When you feel like dressing crazy, do it!” Beam us up, Scotty!