Tao Kurihara's talent lies in her way of gently tweaking a single ideaturning out small, cutely formed high-concept collections, blissfully innocent of confrontational angst. This time, the well-chosen subject of her miniature treatise was "Stoles," Kurihara swathed her girls in all manner of prettily crumpled tiers and ruffles of cotton, lace, and tulle. Walking in socks, and the occasional pair of velvet pajama bottoms, the models looked as if they'd just woken from a lovely dream to pad around the room in dye-dunked cloaks, capes, wraps, and scarves whipped up from old-fashioned frilly bed coverings.
Part of the artily homespun magic is in the tie-dyed colorsdappled pinks, peaches, violets, and blues, eventually turning to cream and solid black. Another attraction is Kurihara's sensitivity to silhouette and romance. If you want volume and drama, her more avant-garde pieceslike her opera capes, cut in concentric circles of lace and velvethave a delicacy akin to something out of a Tissot painting of Parisienne jeune filles. What really makes Kurihara a designer to watch, though, is the way her feminine instinct makes her think out practical applications for her poetics. The designer's tulle-frilled neck-wraps compressed all the prettiness of the collection into a single accessory: a scarf a girl can realistically just shove into a coat, before getting goingwith a sense of delightfor the day.