Sooner or later, every new designer must grapple with the reality of sales. That appeared to be the case for Snow Xue Gao and her fall collection, where the designer finessed her typically deconstructed, hybrid aesthetic into clean, consumer-friendly styles.
Gao grew up in China and now spends her time in New York. Her clothes in the past have been a manifestation of those two worlds. That wasn’t so much the case for fall. She looked to Chinese artist Sun Wen for his similar cultural blend through paintings, reimagining his work onto languid, pajama-like sets and underpinnings. Save for the opening looks that offered a familiar hybrid of western tailoring and kimono jackets, the rest of the collection lacked the visual punch associated with her name.
That isn’t to say the clothes weren’t impeccably made. Gao’s strength, after all, lies in tailoring. Mannish, enveloping coats with drop shoulders were cool when styled over simple, solid ribbed knits, and the bright yellow and blue floral suits were great propositions for power dressing. Graphic, abstract knits styled over patchwork skirts were a playful standout Gao should explore further. The designer has proven she has all the ideas and curiosity of a young talent worth following. The challenge now is finding the right balance so that she isn’t toning down too much.