Jen Kao is an American designer who can be described in two words; “Carefree Elegance”. Originally from Los Angeles but raised in Kansas, Kao studied Studio Art at New York University and then continued with a graduate degree in Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design in New York. A far cry from her family’s choice of profession – Medicine, Engineering and Law, Kao broke away from the academic mould and instead choose the creative . “My dad is a self-made man so I’m really inspired by that. The influence of my family is indirect”.
Kao, now 30 and based in New York, has always been a keen traveller; a favourite destination being Indonesia. Her exotic global trotting ventures inspires her and can be found in the patterns of her fabric and the delicacy in the textiles she uses. From a metal jewellery collaboration with Eddie Borgo, formed over a shared love of comics and aerial shots of pyramids, to being selected earlier this year by Vogue Italia’s, Franca Sozzani, and even with the buyers at TheCorner.com for the Vogue Talents Corner installation in Milan, It appears Ms. Kao’s fresh, articulate approach to fashion has propelled her into the celebrated spotlight. Her designs are sensual; billowing sheers over body con creations, structured silk bustiers under crocheted knits and luxe diamond pattern paneling, without ever appearing overly extrovert. Her interest in architecture from a young age is explored in the three dimensional sculptural art forms of her designs. Kao is a promising young designer who listens to the female form and delivers with heartfelt movement, intricacy and an eye for soft detailing and sophisticated tailoring.
For her AW11-12 collection,Kao took all she learnt since debuting on the catwalk in 2008, and spun it with spice and flavour to produce a, ‘Futuristic Aztec Warrior Woman’ inspired piece, fit for any Egyptian Princess. The bronze chainmail dress, finished with a heavy protective satin layer that swirled gracefully around the models legs, accessorized with Wonder Woman wrist cuffs, presented this look beautifully. A jewel encrusted sword certainly would not have looked out of place. The collection was primarily about how each texture works together; embroidered reptile skin box jackets, spider woven mesh sleeves, moonlit space sheer leggings, tassels dropping from peacock tinted skirts and scorpion shaped necklines. The high waisted ‘Mermaid’ emerald metallic maxi depicted, ‘disco on a rock in space’ with pure style. The final touch was a key feature that pulled the pieces in like the Black Hole; diamond cut-outs that appeared on the chests of many of its Warriors.