Jen Kao moved her runway show uptown this season from Milk Studios to the Studio at Lincoln Center -- a move that more than a few quietly remarked was a likely indicator of some good financial backers -- and also made a significant shift in terms of aesthetics.
Where the designer's spring collection focused on "zombie brides" with a series of long, wispy gowns and soft hues, fall was decidedly more warrior-like.
The central silhouette was a structured corset that felt like something out of Conan the Barbarian -- sometimes appearing in gold, sometimes in darker hues, sometimes with fringe trailing from the bottom. The palette was a moody range of deep purples and smoky greens, with pops of metallics. The prints were extremely strong: According to the program, they were abstracted views of the earth from space, and appeared on gossamery dresses and skintight sheath dresses, sometimes with lovely irridescent patches.
Kao clearly has talent and a strong array of supporters -- Julia Restoin Roitfeld sat front row -- though this collection seemed to take itself a bit too seriously at times. We look forward to seeing some of the printed pieces on shelves come fall, though we may pass on the corsetry.