On Friday afternoon, the Snow Xue Gao Fall 2019 fashion show took place at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in lower Manhattan — but Xue Gao herself wasn’t there to see it.
Instead, she was stuck in her native country of China, where she was visiting on business related to her namesake line. She had applied for a visa that would allow her back into the States for her show, but it didn’t arrive in Beijing on time. Gao received no notification regarding its status, but she believes — reasonably — that the recent government shutdown in America was the cause of the delay. With fewer officials working, it’s possible her paperwork wasn’t processed as quickly as it might have been otherwise.
“I was a bit upset, but I also understand,” Gao told the Cut over the phone from Beijing, where she watched the show via video. Her team members, toward whom she expressed warm gratitude, also texted her photos throughout the fittings process. “This is not normal,” Gao added. “It was out of my control. I just don’t want it to take away from what matters, which is the collection.”
Gao is based in New York. She got her MFA in fashion design at Parsons, graduating in 2017 with a spot on the LVMH Prize shortlist. She debuted her namesake brand here that same year, combining Asian-inspired prints with Western suiting. In fact, her Fall 2019 collection, which was one of her most polished to date, draws specifically from her roots in both Beijing and New York.
Another inspiration for Gao this season were the illustrations by artist Sun Wen of the classic Chinese novel The Dream of the Red Chamber, which features a remarkably expansive cast of characters. Through fashion, Gao hopes to bring different characters together, or “merge her encounters with different societies,” as she wrote in the show notes. She also hopes to be back in New York next week, just in time for buyer appointments.