Everyone's always looking for the next breakout talent, but the tents can leave you feeling empty if you don't know where to look. Hence, some guidance: We've got five up-and-coming designers to watch at the spring 2009 shows. This is our second installment.
It's easy to write Jen Kao off as yet another hipster designer. She's a regular in Nylon and a newbie favorite of WWD and Style.com, and her clothes were recently in a V shoot and graced M.I.A. in Paper mag last year. And her spring 2008 presentation was accompanied by photos from Ryan McGinley. But this designer has all the makings of a young Rei Kawakubo. Her tailoring is precise, her draping technique is nothing short of beautiful, and though her palette is somewhat limited to neutrals and dark colors with a few bright colors thrown in, Kao is poised to go far.