Picking up where she left off last season, Maiko Kurogouchi continued to explore the work of 20th-century master weaver Iizuka Rokansai, whose baskets and bamboo craft left a strong impression on the designer.
Here, it was less the baskets themselves than the way the material reacts to tension and ages, or the gaps left as strips intersect. Such details informed the curvature of a sleeve, the pattern of a cable knit or motifs executed in a range of techniques, from marble prints to origami dyeing that resulted in geometric shapes.
The texture of bamboo in various stages was reproduced in anything from tech-looking jerseys to crinkled, pleated silks. Elsewhere, what caught the eye is the way she used tufting to turn long knits into lightweight fur coats that took their mottling cues from the way light goes through a weave.
As always, the process is fascinating, with Kurogouchi explaining this time how she worked with specialists who generally manufacture the hand-knotted nets used for hams to create sculptural strips of tension lace used for a trio of sculptural gowns.
But even for those who are not Kurogouchi devotees — or bamboo basket enthusiasts — the looks she sent out had ample and very contemporary charm. Among the standouts were the softly tailored jackets with collars that followed the curve of the neck; long and lean reversible cashmere coats; crinkly silk dresses; marble-print separates and all manners of sweaters with asymmetrical necklines or with interlaced cutouts.
The unfussy elegance they exuded felt like they’d find their way into another basket come fall: the shopping kind.