What inspired you for Fall 2011?
I wrote a story in October about a mythical ritual. Wise women journey to a psychedelic sinkhole and abandon armfuls of shiny gifts given to them over time by past lovers, friends and compatriots. And they do this with complete disregard of emotion. A new guard of young, flippant girls go on pilgrimage here to take a dip in all the fantastic history. When they resurface, they are dripping in reappropriated jewels and newfound guidance. By very odd coincidence, in November I started learning about the history of Cenotes in Mexico. Chichen Itza has a sacrificial cenote where young girls would sacrifice themselves fully adorned in jewels. There's, of course, no fatal end in my story, but the paralells really inspired me.
How does this inspiration play out in terms of colors, fabrics, silhouette?
It's glittery with touches of every color everywhere. It's also a story that defines reinvention and the regeneration of strength, so all the silhouettes reflect a sense of pride in the human body.
What music did you listen to while designing this collection?
Bowie, Suuns, R.E.M., Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, Florence + The Machine and Hall and Oates. among others.
Do you have any New York Fashion Week pre-show rituals you can share with us?
About two weeks before, I go online and buy everything I've been neglecting to replenish: facewashes, makeup, notebooks, shampoo, lotion, good new underwear, etc. I'll also stay up late one night to make big batches of food (i.e. dumplings or stew) to ensure that I'll have something I know I will enjoy eating when I get home from work at night. I did this yesterday actually—folded 175 dumplings! I used to also get nail art every season that matched my collection theme, but there is just no time for that anymore.
What other show(s) are you looking forward to seeing this season?
I always look forward to seeing Givenchy, whether it's mens, womens or couture. And Dries Van Noten. as well.
How do you relax and recharge after Fashion Week?
Sleep, eat, gain back all the weight I lost from pre-show antics and watch hours of backed up DVR.
Jen Kao will show her Fall 2011 collection on Tuesday, February 15th at the Studio at Lincoln Center.