How absolutely delightful it is to see a small, perfectly formed collection, conceived in a flash of inspiration, that happens to make complete sense. What was that flash of inspiration? In a word: handkerchiefs. Or, more specifically, trenchcoats made of meltingly beautiful fine lawn and lace handkerchiefs—an overlooked anachronism that a 32-year-old designer named Tao Kurihara happened one day to pick up, turn in her hand, and marvel at.

Did she have a cold, on that day in Tokyo? No matter, the happy incident set her off on a mission to find all the most beautiful examples of hankies she could collect: some Chinese, in hand-embroidered broderie anglaise with scalloped edges; some Japanese, cross-stitched with minute bunches of violets; some in Swiss voile, with monograms in the corner; and many more. Then she pieced all the squares together and came up with a little collection of summer raincoats and T-shirts gorgeous enough to make members of the audience consider staging a smash-and-grab raid on the spot.

In a Paris season heavy on the frilly romance, Tao's version makes for a sweet but cool counterpoint. And as fashion once again starts looking to its young designers, it's great to welcome a talent like this—who, by upending the old order of a big-time, show-off collection, has set her sights on making one specific, exceptional thing to slip into a wardrobe.

A 1992 graduate of London's Central Saint Martins, Tao is the latest hopeful to emerge from behind the scenes at Comme des Garçons, where she now works with her own team of six designers.