NEW YORK FASHION WEEK,FEBRUARY 9, 2019
REVIEWED by MONICA KIM, FEATURED ON VOGUE RUNWAY.
Snow had planned to stage the event at the Museum of Chinese in America on Centre Street, which aims to preserve and present the history of Chinese life in the U.S. Though Gao’s circumstance may have been bureaucratic, it was impossible not to reflect on the walls being built around this country, the divisions running through it. Photographs across the museum showed the same story from decades ago—anti-Chinese propaganda, the painful othering of nonwhite faces.
In the face of these sobering issues, Gao chose to buckle down and make a plaintive statement through her continued blending of cultural dress codes. This season, she drew from her upbringing in Beijing and the recent years she’s spent in New York, as filtered through the work of Sun Wen, a Qing Dynasty painter who made a similar plea for unity. So Gao returned to her signature Chinese silk dresses spliced with crisp suit jackets, though with dramatic drop shoulders that firmly suggested the ’80s. A graphic snowflake print resembled both a tacky American necktie (a Father’s Day gift, perhaps) and a statement-making qipao, cut into a delicate wrap dress with coat.
It was great to see Gao simplify her silhouettes, as she can at times over elaborate the construction and layers of each piece. There were printed silk lounge separates without any mixing or mashing, and two floral brocade suits whose tailoring stood out. Also nice: the intarsia knits and patch-worked habutai slip skirts, which got the cross-cultural message across in an easy yet elegant fashion.