News & Runway


Fashion designers draw inspiration from a variety of sources. Some designers draw inspiration from street or pop culture. Sometimes architecture and nature supplies creative fuel, while others look to artistic expressions of the past. Emerging designer Minna Kao references two disparate cultural icons in her Spring 2010 collection, showcased during the 2010 Nolcha Fashion Week Luxe Collection – 1930’s haute couture designer Madeleine Vionnet, and ballet choreographer George Balanchine.

“This collection is a compilation of movement, but the way it is best described is how a dance performance changes in stages. Balanchine’s Symphony in C is the best example, as the [first] movement of this [ballet] begins explosively, the second movement morphs into romantic longing, with the finale climaxing in joy and excitement. I am also very influenced by Madeleine Vionnet, who was famous for her biased-cut gowns. In this collection, I am taking a modern approach to her Grecian-inspired dresses.”

After honing her skills in Paris under couture designers Alan Faye and Diane Bernet, Minna Kao attended Parsons School of Design and quickly landed a position with famed bridal gown designer, Amsale. “At Amsale, I really learned the craft of bridal gown making. Bridal is one of the closest things we have to couture in the U.S.” In 2006, Minna Kao launched her signature line, MinnaK, which is a combination of unconventional bridal gowns and cocktail dresses. “I feel that when a woman gets married, she needs to look stunning and sexy. In this collection, some of my gowns have a tiered effect, like a waterfall.”

Never one to dwell in the past or rest on her laurels, Minna Kao looks to infuse North African cultural references into her next collection. Whatever the finished product, rest assured that it will be clean, crisp and always fashion forward; in other words, uniquely and distinctly, Minna Kao.

Minna Kao’s bridal gowns and eveningwear retail starting at $2100 and her cocktail dresses start at $900. Minna Kao’s collection can be assessed in New York City at Kleinfeld’s and through her website,

Photos courtesy of Minna Kao.