"I'm slow and patient," Jen Kao
said backstage after tonight's show. That's not a bad way to be, both in moral-driven fables and when you're a young fashion designer. Kao's Fall collection came across as a measured but firm evolution of her witchy, cool-girl look. The designer opened with a series of ultra-sexy but sophisticated knit dresses that seem destined for the closet of front-row fan Julia Restoin-Roitfeld. From there, Kao pushed her signature diamond-pattern paneling into new luxe and directional waters. She mentioned Moby Dick
as an inspiration, but with the dramatic, high-collared furs and futuristic seaming—not to mention the straight-cut bangs—there were definite shades of Blade Runner
. Still, two clear standouts—a body-hugging oxblood leather dress with the sexy flip of godet pleats, and a near-sheer seamed turtleneck tucked into a beautifully executed rabbit-fur skirt trimmed with Eddie Borgo-designed hardware—didn't fit into any overarching theme. Unfortunately, evening is still a work in progress: Kao's paneled takes on the gown never fully crystallized into an elegant look. The exception was a lovely, high-necked, almost Victorian embroidered gown that would do any woman, whether replicant or human, proud.