October 02, 2009
Watching Tao Kurihara's melding of craft, punk, and young femininity is one of the minor, semi-hidden delights of Paris (she still shows in a small way, off-schedule). This season, she said she'd set herself the task of making clothes without sewing—a project that had her wrapping, binding, and safety-pinning together strips of brocades, tulle, lace, tie-dye, and strands of spidery, lacy knitting. The charm of it lies in the almost childlike freedom—let a class of 7-year-olds loose on these materials with no sewing machine, and they might come up with some of the same solutions. Yet there's nothing in the slightest amateur about the bricolage of bits and pieces Kurihara assembles. For one thing, the transparencies, the draping, and the tie-dye, as well as elements like the sheer leggings with spidery embroidery, are in sync with the general direction of fashion—and for another, when the layerings are separated out in the showroom, there are dozens of quirkily cool items that are easy to buy. Kurihara's ability to hit that happy balance between free-form artiness and commerciality is a special talent.