Jen Kao’s Italian Diary
New York-based designer Jen Kao was selected by Vogue Italia‘s Franca Sozzani and the buyers at TheCorner.com for the Vogue Talents Corner installation in Milan. While in Italy, Kao took full advantage of the situation to do a little traveling and more than a little shopping. She shares some of her snaps and memories, below.
“We arrived in Milan for the Vogue Talents Exhibition curated by Vogue Italia and TheCorner.com. After spending the first day setting up, we headed back to Palazzo Morando to meet Franca Sozzani and pose for pictures with the other designers. A dream list of guests passed through to the check out the collection, including, but not limited to, Anna Dello Russo, Margherita Missoni and Giovanna Battaglia (above), Anne Christensen, Donatella Versace, Suzy Menkes, Linda Fargo, Sally Singer, Dan and Dean of Dsquared², and Roberto Cavalli.”
“Checked in for some meetings at my booth, and then made the most necessary pit stop—at Prada! How can you choose from all the fascinating shades of caterpillar fox stoles, especially when they were made available to the public just as I walked in! I also wasn’t able to make my way out without a pair of blue and white swirly shades and black espadrille platform wingtips. That evening, we hosted a dinner for some friends at Da Giacomo (below). The food was more than something to write home about, the conversation even better, and the atmosphere better still—there’s always something to see. Case in point? Up in the right corner, paintings of personified carrots in tuxedos. And over there to the left, the most amazing vintage, printed ponyhair coat.
“After a quick day trip to Rome, I spent another day in Milan, introducing the collection to some new designer friends and buyers, like the brilliant shoe designer Alain Quilici, who stopped by for a chat and offered some great tips of his trade. Then, lunch at Obika, a Japanese-style mozzarella bar on the rooftop of the Rinascente that conveniently provided a breathtaking backdrop of the Duomo. I had wanted to check out 10 Corso Como (below), and it did not disappoint! I picked up a great new Marni backpack and stocked up on whimsically printed pieces by Christopher Kane. I ran back to the apartment to get dressed for the Cavalli show. I enjoyed my first Milan fashion show with Elle‘s Kate Lanphear—it was especially exciting, as I had just met Mr. Cavalli in my booth the other night.
“I spent my last day in Milan with yet a little more shopping and then it was back to the Palazzo Morando to pack up the collection and get ready to head back to New York. I had lunch at Luini’s near the Duomo, a must-do in Milan: fried dough pizza pockets filled with mozzarella and hot salami. I’m not sure what I will miss the most: the guiltiest pleasures of food and clothes or the great friends I have made on this trip.”