story by Seth Friedermann
photos by Aeric Meredith-Goujon
I’ve said on many occasions that I believe that Jen Kao is one of the future superstars of American fashion. I encourage you to go and look through pictures from her first collection in the Fall of 2008 (unfortunately that season was slightly pre-modaCYCLE) to behold her growth as an artist. Her Fall 2013 Collection marks the first time that I walked away from one of her shows not 100% thrilled. To be crystal clear, there were many pieces that were extraordinary. Ms. Kao’s work with patches in both squares & triangles was clever & energizing. Her asymmetrically draped skirts in vinyl and leather were gorgeous. And the fabric choices of soft mixed with hard and glossy gave the collection and many of the pieces an alluring appeal.
But the 1980s cold weather urban street wear references were off-key and distracting, robbing the collection of it’s cohesion and dampening it’s charge. Some of her detailing was misplaced as well, in particular a technique of a large triangular fold falling in front over a square breast line which read as an odd bit of unimaginative volume. There was also a great deal of polka dot mink, which was disappointing from a younger designer. I really hope killing this beautiful creature for an an anachronistic status symbol dies out in my lifetime.