With Chris Isaak crooning "Wicked Game" and models strolling down a sandy runway, you could be forgiven for thinking that Jen Kao's Spring show was about the chicest girls at the beach. Instead, Kao's backstory involved girls wandering the desert in an altered state where they find the man of their dreams. As opposed to in real life, the designer explained backstage.

Touché.

Kao all but tossed her body-con reputation out the window with these dreamy and crafty looks, finished with dangling silver earrings, macramé foot wraps in lieu of shoes, and back-combed hair that looked clotted with salt. But the designer grounded the dusty pale crocheted knits and billowy silks in reality with measured doses of tailoring and structure. A natty white blazer was shown over an organza dress. A standout gown in various rosy sandstone hues had a fully structured bustier from which hung a fluid silk skirt.

Though it seemed to venture further than ever from her established oeuvre, Kao pronounced the collection "the most me I've been." Mr. Right might be a mere figment, but sometimes reality can be just as exciting, like this solid push forward from a young designer.