Fashion Week is coming into the home stretch, and as we get further on, it seems like the looks are becoming increasingly theatrical. Today, we saw everything from windblown sylphs at Rodarte to grungy goddesses at Diesel Black Gold. It was an interesting assemblage of looks, but no one missed their chance to make a statement.
Jen Kao Puts Up a Psychedelic Collection Filled With Acid Rainbow Hues and Aquatic Fringe For Fall 2011
>> Jen Kao has quite the cult following and the list only seems to be growing: Ally Hilfiger was spotted sitting front and center in addition to Sarah Rutson, who went backstage to congratulate Kao after the show. For Fall 2011, the designer took us on a psychedelic adventure — quite the departure from her beachy Spring 2011 line — filled with vibrant fringe, aerial planetary prints, and multi-colored fur. “I think that appearance-wise, it might seem like an acid trip,” Kao told the WSJ, post-show. “But I was inspired by finding images that were non-specific, whether they were underwater or space or something you can’t quite place.”
The collection was vibrant, as Kao experimented with rich hues of green, teal, blue, purple, orange, and yellow — along with more muted colors such as grey and ink. Sharp shouldered printed blazers, colored fringed dresses, iridescent flared pants, shimmering lurex leggings paired, and purple satin platform boots all eluded to a Ziggy Stardust — David Bowie was party of the runway soundtrack — meets Avatar vibe. Furthermore, stylist Keegan Singh finished off the looks with gold eyebrows, funky satin platform boots, and peacock fingertips. “I think it’s a really fine line, especially with this collection,” said Kao. “I wanted to be as fun and as free as I could be, but if I have one weakness, it’s figuring out what to edit.” And the fun didn’t stop there: Kao’s after party at the Bowery Hotel kept everyone on the same cerebral wavelength with face-painting and even a bounce house.
>> The little black dress is ever a staple and more so with the holiday season approaching. Our picks — from the likes of Jen Kao, Diane von Furstenberg, Alexander Wang, and Rag & Bone — have you covered for every occasion, whether it's a swanky dinner party or a more intimate gathering amongst friends. Peruse the slideshow for our top 18 little black dresses of the season.
For fall 2010 Jen Kao experimented with knitwear, exotic skins, and fur— her signature paneling firmly in place.
Presented at Milk Studios, Kao's photogenic front row included a long list of fashion's girls of the moment. Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Lauren Santo Domingo, Becka Diamond, Harley Viera-Newton, and Pamela Love all looked on as Kao's first five looks—seriously micro cable knit sweater dresses—gave way to slightly more modest pieces.
Most notable were a sequin wool dress with padded shoulders, fur paneled leather vests, a pair of quilted shorts paired with a cashmere blazer, and a shear turtleneck and fur-fringed skirt combo. The color palette moved from black to jade to oxblood and back again to black, and hardcore python piping and leather paneling found balance in soft draped pants paired with oversized jersey tanks.
Collaborating with Eddie Borgo on jewelry for the third season and for the first time with Alejandro Ingelmo on shoes, the accessories were spot on. Interlocking cuffs, stacked bangles, spiked double rings, and architectural collars by Borgo and open-toe stiletto booties from Ingelmo added to the toughness of the collection.
The show ended with a series of black floor-length gowns, gothic in their high collars, long sleeves, and aggressive jewels—Jen's Kao's tough girl gone glam.
Jen Kao lightened up fall's moody palette this season with a collection that largely stayed within neutral tones of rose, gray, and white. While colors were paler, Kao continued to please her tough-chic fans with cropped motorcycle jackets, geometric bustier dresses and sharp cut-outs. As Kao explained, "The collection is feminine, but still very structural. The clothes are free and draped, but still very complex in the way they are built."
The detailed construction was evident in the graphic paneling of a suede mini skirt, a silk kimono with chain embroidery, and a sharply tailored white suit with strong shoulders. Eddie Borgo cuffs and earrings were a nice hard-edged contrast to the collection, as were Tania Spinellie's chain mail fringe heels. Each inspired, according to Kao, by medieval face shields and all styled expertly by Keegan Singh.
>> Jen Kao, known for her hard-edged, heavily black palette and her downtown cred — Julia Restoin-Roitfeld fluttered around and Lauren Santo Domingo rushed in, personally escorted by Milk's Mazdack Rassi — took things to a lighter place for Spring 2010. Her collection was entirely in nude, bone, slate . . . but her favorite triangular lines and sharp edges remained — even in the runway pattern. Kao's go-to team (and couple) Keegan Singh and Eddie Borgo styled and contributed jewelry, respectively; Borgo's dangling, structured earrings and necklaces, as always, were standout. And Tania Spinelli contributed the "flutter chain" heels which bounced as the models walked.
But the change in direction was striking — especially because it produced an uncharacteristically tailored white suit, a long nude jersey gown, and another beaded gown that jingled as Myf Shepherd walked.
Spring 2010 New York Fashion Week: Ralph Lauren Expands to Three Shows; Two Designers Dare to Overlap with Fashion's Night Out
>> New York Fashion Week is still over a month away, but Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week just released its official calendar today and the Fashion Calendar — which shows all of the shows not included in the Bryant Park festivities — has appeared online, so we can get an idea of what will be going down in that crazy time period between Sept. 9 and Sept. 17.
Despite the industry's economic doldrums, a few designers are adding an extra show for Spring 2010 — Ralph Lauren is upgrading from two showings to three in his usual morning-of-the-last-day spot; Phillip Lim is following in close friend Richard Chai's footsteps, doing a two separate shows this season, one for men's and one for women's, rather than combining them like he usually does; and Thom Browne, who chose to show his Fall 2009 collection in Florence instead of at New York Fashion Week, is back on the schedule with not one but two shows.
>> The first official look at how Spring 2010 New York Fashion Week is shaping up will come Friday, when the first edition of the Fashion Calendar ships, but until then, we've got a few hints.
“There will be a lot more shows than last year," according to The Calendar's Ruth Finley, which means Anna Wintour won't be pleased. Last season, Anna said that "a lot of people before were having shows that simply shouldn’t have been having them," adding: "It’s much better to see them in the showroom or more of a low-key presentation. It’s more realistic." It seems like a number of designers didn't heed her advice — Finley says that this upcoming season, "There are a lot of new people [showing] you have never heard of."
>> Fall 2009 is jewelry's time to shine, judging by all of the collaborations debuting during Fashion Week. Besides Alexander Wang working with Paris Kain of AbraxasRex on "industrial," "animalistic" pieces, Bensoni commissioned Bing Bang's Anna Sheffield to do candy heart necklaces with pyramid pendants, Jason Wu enlisted Philip Crangi to add a "tough element" to his collection, Gilles Mendel and Subversive's Justin Giunta teamed up for chains and jewels to will appear on and worked into the J.Mendel collection, Eddie Borgo channeled his triangle obsession for Jen Kao, producing a sharp set of baubles — and he also working with Joseph Altuzarra. Not to mention a variety of other partners in jeweldom: Hervé Van der Straeten and Ruffian, Thakoon and Fenton's Dana Lorenz, DanniJo and Trovata, Roxanne Assouline and Brian Reyes . . .
Needless to say, the bijoux will be aplenty this season — especially because those partnerships are a good way to for jewelry designers get pieces out there without spending money — "You'll see a lot of collaborations going on with designers — like Irene Neuwirth is doing jewelry for Richard Chai — so you can see the talent at the same time," says CFDA executive director Steven Kolb.
*image: source, source, source