Jen Kao may have made her fans wait 40 minutes for her evening show to commence, but it was worth it just to gawk at the runway, which was covered in hand-painted sand.
The pattern painted into the sand was reflected in some of the dresses Kao later sent down the runway, and we must admit: Moments like the one we experienced watching the first model cascade through the immaculately-arranged sand runway are few and far between, even for spectacles like fashion week.
Kao's star has really skyrocketed over the past couple of seasons, and seeing the likes of Julia Restoin Roitfeld in the audience (who also got a "thank you" in the program) is a testament to the increasing popularity of her clothes, which always have a distinctive brand of sex appeal.
For Spring 2011, Kao was inspired by the idea of a desert, where "desert princes find their zombie brides." It may not sound all that romantic, but it certainly appeared that way: Much as Rodarte last season had its ghostly brides, Kao's long white dresses were the highlight of this collection. A series toward the end of gowns featuring blue printed chiffon and white lace-and-organza were particularly stunning.
In some areas, Kao took the romance perhaps a bit over the top -- as in the case of some cashmere crochet dresses, some with knee-length macrame -- but it's always a pleasure to participate in a real fashion week experience at a runway show, and despite some flubs in the way of fashion, the experience certainly passed muster.