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11 posts tagged "Jen Kao"

Jen Kao’s Italian Diary

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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. Continue Reading “Jen Kao’s Italian Diary” »

14 Young Talents Get Sent To The Corner

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The shows that opened Milan fashion week today were by the big names—Gucci and Alberta Ferretti among them—but at the private cocktail party hosted by Franca Sozzani for Vogue Italia‘s Vogue Talents Corner, the up-and-comers had a chance to shine. Fourteen designers, selected by the editors of various international editions of the magazines, got a chance to spotlight their work, and select pieces will go on sale at the e-tail Web site www.thecorner.com.

New York-based Jen Kao was model-pretty next to her printed collection, alongside Serbian shoe designer Burak Uyan, who’s showing fur booties this season. Giovanna Battaglia was on hand to cheer for her younger sister Sara, whose namesake collection of handbags—a quiet hit among street-style photogs and select European boutiques—was being presented for the first time. Giovanna had her favorite pieces, like a small black leather evening bag with gold embroidery, but said she doesn’t give her sister any advice on the business. “Giovanna, you work with clothes, and I’ll do the bags!” Sara joked.

A new name to me was Caterina Gatta, a Central Saint Martins grad who makes her one-off pieces from vintage fabrics from other labels, like Versace, YSL, and Givenchy. A simple T-shirt dress in an archival Versace print like the one above was a total must-have.

Photo: thecorner.com

Game Face

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The gridiron faceoff was fierce yesterday for Super Bowl Sunday, but so was the catwalk competition at ACW Worldwide’s model call for the casting agency’s Fall 2011 New York shows. The lithe and the leggy arrived to try for a spot on the New York runways (ACW casts Thakoon, Y-3, and Jen Kao, among others), and even past success is no guarantee of a good placement. “I was very lucky,” said Kat Hessen (above left), who had a knockout debut Spring 2011 season walking Alexander Wang, Rodarte, Prada, and Miu Miu. “But the second season, you never know. You no longer have novelty on your side. It’s almost like you have to prove yourself.”

“There’s so many new stunning girls each season, but you want somebody that’s not a robot,” explained agency founder Andrew Weir of the process. (Those who want to go deeper into the casting world can also check out his newly launched blog, Weirdiary.com.) “They mostly start so young; many of them have nothing to say yet. But sometimes you’ll meet a young girl who has this amazing style at an early age.” Iris Egbers (Supreme) and Alex Yuryeva (Silent) were two newbies that caught his eye.

There were, of course, catwalk veterans like Rose Cordero (above right), Jourdan Dunn, Eugenia Mandzhieva (above center), and Sophie Srej, too. It was also nice to see a concerted push toward more diversity in the field. Compared to years past, there was a noticeable uptick in young Asian and black models (Li Ming and Melodie Monrose stood out). “That is something that is really exciting,” Cordero enthused. “There used to be certain clients who never hired black models. But ever since Italian Vogue started casting us, it’s been amazing. It really started with that.”

For all the exotic names and new faces, there was only one that created something of a frenzy. Crystal Renn, with her notorious curves (or purported lack thereof), had the casting practically at a standstill. The Ford model, who was game even for an impromptu photo shoot with the press, stopped to chat. “In modeling, there’s not much freedom,” Renn said of her not plus-size but not stick-thin frame. “If you started with a size 35 hip, you’re expected to stay that way. I made a decision in my career to let my body be where it wants to be. I know they say that this industry is all about looks, but the key thing is what I have on the inside. It’s what sets me apart.”

Photos: Gregory Harris/Courtesy of the Gap (Hessen); Kim Weston Arnold (Mandzhieva); Yannis Vlamos / GoRunway.com (Cordero)

Is Silver The Color Of Spring 2011?

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‘Tis the season to make jewelry. More and more of New York’s ready-to-wear designers—suffering, we’re sure, from an overabundance of free time—are adding custom or collaborative jewelry to their collections for the Spring ’11 season. And if you’re a fan of silver, you’re in luck.


Jen Kao has collaborated in the past with other designers on jewelry for her namesake label, but this Spring, she steps out on her own, launching a collection of sterling silver bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and even a belt that pick up Spring’s romantic theme. “When I can be, I am always head-to-toe in jewelry, but it still always feels like there’s an essential piece that’s missing. I particularly love pieces that become such a part of you that you don’t ever want to take them off,” Kao says. “I wanted to design jewelry that speaks the same message as the clothing: personal, easy dramatics.” The weird, slightly supernatural romance of her current theme—”the youthful kismet of desert princes meeting zombie brides,” she says—was replicated in a gift to editors: a dangling pendant from the upcoming collection (above), complete with a hand-penned poem.


For his upcoming collection, Jeremy Laing worked with fellow Torontonian Jaime Sin on a few silver pieces as well. Sin’s main occupation is DJ—she’s done the music for Laing’s shows for the past few seasons—but she’s launching her line on Laing’s girls, some of who will be wearing the geometric pieces Sin and Laing co-designed (above).


And for Fashion’s Night Out, Rogan Gregory and Pamela Love put their heads together for some limited-edition jewels, too. The engraved lockets from the new ROGAN vs LOVE collection are inscribed with dark, allusive phrases—”What Have Your Eyes Done To Me?,” “Don’t Stop Love,” and “Don’t Cry” (above). They’ll be available for $435-475 on Fashion’s Night Out at the Black Carnival, the Bond Street block party co-hosted by Rogan, The Smile, and Oak.

Photos: Steven Torres (Jen Kao); Courtesy of Jeremy Laing; Courtesy of Rogan

Jen Kao’s Geometry Lesson

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By late afternoon on the last day of fashion week, who doesn’t need a drink? That was the thinking behind Jen Kao’s bubbly-friendly presentation at Milk Studios on Friday. Waiters passed around flutes of the stuff while editors, friends, and fans crowded the penthouse to have a look at her latest collection. Inspired by pyramids and X-rays, Kao built upon past themes of conceptual design to deliver a future Gothic effect. Longtime friend jewelry designer Eddie Borgo created a collection of severely pointy silver triangle bangles and brooches with a high puncture potential. Footwear designer Tania Spinelli’s ankle boots with buckle detail and suede over-the-knee boots came straight from production in Venice, Italy. As the presentation neared an end, Gossip Girl‘s Taylor Momsen, now a longtime Kao devotee, took some time from a hectic filming schedule to catch up with stylist Keegan Singh and check out the collection. Clad in a gray one-piece jumpsuit from Kao’s Spring collection—accessorized with an Eddie Borgo pyramid pendant necklace—she pointed out some of her favorite looks for the Fall line. “That one,’” she said, pointing to a black minidress covered in triangular silver plates. “Actually, no. I want them all!”

Photo: George Napolitano / FilmMagic