Snow Xue Gao finds inspiration from Chinatown for fall/winter 2018

Chinatown has long been one of the most historic parts of New York City, and a big tourist attraction too. This season, designer Snow Xue Gao found inspiration from Chinatown, as she built on her east meets west aesthetic. As part of her design process she began going to Chinatown to observe people going to work and women waking up to shop at markets in their pajamas. She also drew inspiration from her Beijing upbringing and Qipao dressing (pajamas made popular in the 1930's.)

Snow Xue Gao finds inspiration from Chinatown for fall/winter 2018

After taking photographs of various outfits, she developed a draping board and from there she thought about how to make each piece more wearable. The collection had a vintage feel to it, as Gao attempted to design a collection that would span all eras from the 1950s to the present.

This was far from a traditional vintage glamour inspired collection, however. This was a collection that had a taste of the avant garde, and displayed Gao's technical skills as a designer to both deconstruct then reconstruct garments for her interpretation of how she thinks people should dress.

Snow Xue Gao finds inspiration from Chinatown for fall/winter 2018

Traditional suiting in fine Italian wool plaids and jacquards were rendered to create a trompe l'oeil effect, and blazers were deconstructed and reconstructed to create bustiers or give the illusion of butterfly skirts.

Tailored suiting is a key component of her business, and although she has a penchant for more avant garde styling, her collection is very much a workwear collection. "Of course for the runway, we go crazy with styling," Gao said. "But if you look at each piece individually, you can see the high quality and tailoring technique. Many suiting pieces in our line are still very classic and simple."

Snow Xue Gao finds inspiration from Chinatown for fall/winter 2018

Gao knows how to play with luxe fabrics and color as well. Colorful silk dresses in jewel tones were notable pieces in the collection. There were three types of people this collection successfully won over: the suiting lover, the luxe fabric addict, and the avante garde street style customer. It's a tough feat to nail all three, but Gao successfully accomplished this.

photos: courtesy of Purple PR