NEW YORK FASHION WEEK,SEPTEMBER 8, 2018
Reviewed by MONICA KIM, FEATURED ON VOGUE RUNWAY
For Spring, designer Snow Xue Gao once again chose Jing Fong as her show venue. The no-frills Cantonese restaurant is said to dish out the city’s most authentic dim sum, which made it an ideal setting for today’s tribute to the posh women of ’60s Hong Kong. “Those Hong Kong ladies dress in a full look—jewelry, fun clothes—just to play a game with their friends,” Gao said. Guests rode a long escalator up to find a makeshift mah-jongg parlor of six tables surrounded by dining chairs. Beyond a partition, Jing Fong managed its lunchtime rush as usual, and the jangling of plates and idle chatter provided a pleasing ambient soundtrack.
Fresh off a spot on the LVMH Prize short list, Gao decided to continue laying the foundations of her brand—namely, deconstructed Western suiting mixed with Eastern printed silks and other cultural cues. The game of mahjong informed this collection, specifically the chrysanthemums, soaring cranes, and other traditional flora-fauna motif prints created in-house by Gao and her team. “We always try to add something new with the Asian floral prints,” said the designer, who also used geometric blocks and colorful spheres pulled from mah-jongg tiles.
In conjuring ’60s Hong Kong, one cannot escape the visual reference to Wong Kar-Wai’s masterpiece In the Mood for Love, and simply by association the show felt lush and romantic. This effect was enhanced by choice accessories. See the seven-stranded pearl necklace, paired with a single black lace glove; it looked quite lovely with a slip dress cut from two rose and poppy prints (one white and red, one pale spotted pink) worn over graphic violet silk pants, white socks, and loafers. Gao also added little drawstring bags with oversize pearl baubles, and the most adorable mah-jongg tile earrings that should sell by the bundle.
Of course, Gao is not alone in her reinterpretations of suiting, nor of East Asian design codes. It is exciting ground to chart—the more the merrier!—and one hopes Gao can continue to push her brand further, finding her own individual foothold. All in all, it made for a charming afternoon in Chinatown.