Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Jen Kao, Fall 2011: A Review

(Note: Saw the show yesterday at NY Fashion Week and wrote a short review of it when I got home. Have to say, I am baffled by the speed at which those journalists review the shows and publish them online! How do they remember everything?!! My iPhone photos did not turn out at all!!)

 A dramatic crescendo into 10cc’s classic “Im Not in Love” kicked off a string of Ziggy Stardust-inspired looks at Jen Kao–but with an underwater subtext. Iridescent and metallic finishes, like on a floor-length mermaid skirt and on the “ultraviolet gill platform wedge boots”, alluded to a deep-sea inspiration. This was echoed in a poem that Kao penned in 1999 and left copies of for her audience, in which she speaks of jellyfish and a “mollusk Tear of Joy”.

When the song changed to none other than “Ashes to Ashes” by Bowie himself, the clothes were right there with it; Jersey blazers and mini skirts printed with acid rainbow psychedelic prints, skin-tone tights studded with silvery specks, flared pants, and plenty of fringing details were a not-so-subtle nod to the wild looks of the artist’s early 70’s persona. Fox and mink furs with neon pink accents as well as gold glitter eyebrows and a lot of gold in general further kept with the rock star theme. Yet in doing so, the flashy, sometimes impractical pieces (like a wide-knit crocheted mini skirt) got lost in an overwhelming intensity that never mellowed down after that first crescendo. Still, Kao’s exploration of vibrant color was a brave venture into unexplored territory (her last season’s collection consisting only of dusty neutrals), proving an adaptability that keeps her fresh and edgy.
(pics credit: NYTimes)