Snow Xue Gao’s runway was set up like a mahjong game room, mirroring those in Hong Kong frequented by dolled-up ladies in the Sixties. Gao has been inspired by such women for a few reasons: the way they layer, the juxtaposition of their prim clothing against a bustling city backdrop, and how it all interacts.
With only a handful of collections to her name, Gao has a distinct vision of deconstructive East-meets-West tailoring. She favors layering, or at least the illusion of it, balancing feminine subversion with masculine ideas of officewear. It’s one of the reasons she stands out among the emerging talent pool in New York — you see a piece and instantly link it to her name.
Her spring collection was lighter and more carefree than seasons past, letting a mix of fabric weights drape and flow freely. She opened the show with a hybrid blazer made of lightweight suiting fabric and printed silk. It had both a structured and kimono-like quality, but Gao noted backstage before the show that the contrast isn’t noticeable when you put it on. She offered variations of the look along the way, including printed slip dresses with the appearance of seductively falling straps, a few dresses split in half by contrasting fabrics, and a tailored dress that mixed in a flowy silk sleeve and skirt.
She incorporated the mahjong theme through engineered prints inspired by the patterns and colors of the game’s tiles. As the show progressed, looks began unraveling even more, closing with a multilayered outfit consisting of a dress made of three prints and free-flowing sash.
From an editorial perspective, the brand is vastly interesting for its ability to challenge the eye. But pieces are also surprisingly wearable, considering layered dresses and jackets are actually single items cut in familiar silhouettes.