Ripped from the Runway with Snow Xue Gao’s Spring 2021 Collection

Spring 2021 Trends:

If I were to describe the trends for Spring 2021 I’d classify them as pandemic and post-pandemic. In the first group, which centers on quarantining, sheltering at home, and Zoom correspondence they include: face masks, fashion gloves, leisurewear, sweatsuits, and Zoom jewelry. In the second group they include clothes that “shine” with “crystal embellishments, sequins, and reflective patent leather,” fun colors like silver, soft pink, and vibrant orange, “clashing prints,” and “head-to-toe playful prints”. Besides these trends there are those that carryover from other seasons or have a retro vibe (i.e., transparency, “statement collars,” neon brights, “exaggerated shoulders, bubble hems, and stripes, etc.,) along with the risqué and futuristic genre of bra and crop tops, utility garments and netting.

Snow Xue Gao:

Following close examination of these trends from New York, London, Paris, and Milan via fashion journalism commentary in vogue.com, Refinery29.com, FashionMagazine.com, WWD and others, then analyzing Vogue, Elle, and InStyle magazines I realized the Chinese designer, Snow Xue Gao, presented the most unique and innovative fashion show for Spring 2021 in New York City.

Not only did her designs cleverly reflect the “ease and comfort” we’ve all become accustomed to, while under quarantine during the pandemic, her mash up of Eastern and Western influences provided a prototype for her target customer once she emerges from quarantine during the post-pandemic period. Conceived for the professional woman who enjoys expressing her individuality and prefers buying wardrobe additions instead of trends and fads the creativity she brings to her garments blends classicism with futurism effectively.

Born in Beijing, Gao began her studies at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology before moving to New York to work on an MFA in fashion design at Parsons School of Design. After graduating in 2017, and being shortlisted for the LVMH Prize competition, she launched her brand and started getting noticed by Vogue, WWD, and others in the press. Influenced by both the suiting popular in Western fashion and the “silks, prints and cultural motifs” from the East she’s particularly known for her eclectic approach.

“Ease, comfort and versatility have been keywords that have popped up during Zoom calls, and were all mentioned in Snow Xue Gao’s spring collection, which featured a more relaxed design approach without losing its East-meets-West mixed media identity.”

Andrew Shang

“Ease, comfort and versatility have been keywords that have popped up during Zoom calls, and were all mentioned in Snow Xue Gao’s spring collection, which featured a more relaxed design approach without losing its East-meets-West mixed media identity,” wrote Andrew Shang in the article Snow Xue Gao RTW Spring 2021.

By taking the “clashing prints” trend and mixing it with deconstructionism and the pandemic-related trends of “pajamas as outerwear,” florals and plaids she’s achieved a look that seamlessly works as well at home as it does for quick errands out with a mask worn for protection. Titled Love, Family, and Friends Gao said about the collection in the article Snow Xue Gao Spring 2021 “I really hope that my clothes can give people a feeling of happiness, relaxation and casualness.”

Influenced aesthetically by Dries Van Noten and Martin Margiela, her Spring line consisted of structured, belted blazers, patchwork dresses, skirts, tops and pants kept down to earth with flat, black men’s-style shoes. Figure-enhancing, without being overly clingy or body-consciousness, her garments also had a slight 1930s/1940s feel

Writer Laird Borelli-Persson in her collection review about the designer for vogue.com wrote that “Gao is a talented tailor with a distinct signature of puzzling asymmetric “dual” or half-and-half looks together that play softness against suiting.” It was just this attention to her “distinctive ensembles” that earned her the admiration of Rihanna, who wore one of Gao’s jackets at the 2016 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park.

Only time will tell what the future will bring once the pandemic is over, but one thing is certain, talented and innovative designers like Snow Xue Gao will always be in demand as interesting ones to watch.

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