stein-fall-winter-2022-collection-japan-brand (27)
Rakuten Tokyo Fashion Week

If you don't know Stein already, now's as good a time as any to get acquainted. Kiichirō Asakawa's upstart label just debuted its Fall/Winter 2022 collection at Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo and, boy, does it look good.

Asakawa's young brand has only been around since about 2016 but it's blown up within a half-decade. It hasn't yet reached the international fame of contemporaries like AURALEE but Stein's well on its way with an equally devoted domestic following who sell it Stein's seasonal drops nearly as quickly as they arrive.

Stein's clothing is appealing because it's so thoughtfully considered that its reworked takes on classic layering pieces will entirely reshape how you view them.

Take its twist on the trench coat, for instance: cut from billowy cotton gaberdine or grid-patterned wool, first blush may make you assume that it's just another iteration of the gumshoe classic.

Look closer and notice that Stein's FW22 trenches are subtly double-layered, for extra weather protection and volume, or they might be fitted with an almost overwhelming number of buckles and straps.

Other versions pare things back to emphasize the silhouette, which is core to Stein's design principles.

That's a lot of looks for a single style of garment. Stein doesn't do what it does simply for the sake of making familiar stuff a little less ordinary, though.

Its garments have elegantly relaxed patterns that heighten movement and remove stress from seams, boosting comfort and achieving a level of grace affected by Martin Margiela's tenure at Hermès or Armani in the '80s.

Only occasionally interrupted by splashes of painterly primary colors, Stein's refined leather jackets, puffers, sweaters, cardigans, knits, boilersuits, and pleated slacks are almost garments out of time, like Karasu-era Rei Kawakubo reworked Gianni Versace's fabulously huge '90s tailoring.

It's a new kind of timeless, one that's rooted in the past but very much speaks of the future.

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