It's never easy parsing the origins of Tao Kurihara's collections. This season, one front-row type guessed Scandinavia or Russia. Another suggested Turkey or maybe Mexico. Backstage, the Rei Kawakubo disciple first cited cake decorations, but then revealed it was Eastern Europe that captured her interest. The former explains the frothy silhouettes of her baby-doll dresses, quilted jackets, and dirndl skirts, as well as the ribbonlike prints and embroideries. The latter gave the collection its red, black, and white color palette, the folkloric striped flower prints, and the black velvet bows, as well as the smocking on her pantaloons.
This was undoubtedly one of Kurihara's more whimsical efforts—an impression underscored by the Frida Kahlo swipes of red face paint across the models' brows, the cloudlike hats, and the white patent-leather oxfords with clownlike proportions. But there were pieces that have serious crossover potential—the little red and black sweaters smothered with bows, for starters, or the sack dresses in crushed velvet and striped florals that were worn over white poplin button-down shirts. Still, Kurihara is nothing if not a dreamer. You'd hope there was still room for some of that spirit in this strange new world.