story by Seth Friedermann
photos by Adrianna Favero
Jen Kao‘s collections always have a very pure feel to them. There is a sense of a wide and natural stream that flows unimpeded from her inspiration to her creations. This makes her collections feel charming and unadulterated. Always proceeding from a natural place, Kao’s clothing seems very accurately evocative of her collection’s starting point.
Her Spring 2012 collection is, to me, a walk on a sunny beach as dawn was breaking. The clothing was colorful, light and soft. It is a compliment to her editing skills that she created looks that were very multi-hued but never crossed the line into garish. The lightness and transparency of the fabrics that her bright creations were done in muted her colors to a very tranquil and pleasing level. As always with her work, there was an indefinable spirit, call it an other worldly romanticism. While there were a few pieces that were a touch busy, overall it is an understated collection that draws your senses in rather than exploding out upon them.
A particular stand-out group were thin knits done with variations in rectangles (yes, knit, that is not a print). They were cut loose and draped wonderfully around the neck and shoulders. A creation sure to sell… and be knocked off.
Her pieces were loosely structured for the most part, and quite a few were embellished with cut outs and tattered, creating small eddies in motion. Jen Kao possess a great touch with her patterns and fabrics. She makes clothes that have an overall feel where the construction compliments her color palette perfectly. Fall 2011 was deep rich jewel tones and tropical plumage, so heavier and more substantial. This season was warm breezy and engaging, with peaches, apricots, violets, and sky blue, so the construction was airy and light. It makes the viewer, and I am sure the wearer, feel complete, with a sense of a total expression of an idea. Jen Kao continues to impress in her growth and power as a rising force in New York fashion.