“I travel back and forth,” says designer Han Feng. “Enjoy both worlds.” She’s speaking literally-she divides her time between Shanghai and New York-but the same could be said for her overall aesthetic, which blends elements of diverse cultures. She was sitting in the Neue Galerie’s Café Sabarsky, eating apple strudel, but she’d soon be leaving for Shanghai.

Photo credit: Renée PriceThe museum’s director, Renée Price, joined the table. Old friends, the pair discussed the patterned Viennese textiles that they were producing for the Neue Galerie’s Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900–1918, and for the museum gift shop. Feng has collaborated with the store for many years, and her newest offerings include silk charmeuse scarves, kimonos, pocket squares, and shawls in a red, green, and blue floral pattern that Austrian designer Lotte Frömel-Fochler created in 1910. Feng frequently uses silk and prefers natural fibers. “I use cotton or silk or wool, cashmere,” she says. “I don’t like too much polyester.”

For the show itself, Feng has created two evening cocktail dresses and a day ensemble. Now open, the exhibition focuses on Klimt’s portraits of women and the influence of fashion in fin-de-siècle Vienna. Feng’s pieces were inspired by the era’s style of dress and the work of Viennese fashion designer Emilie Flöge (who was also Klimt’s muse). Price explained that the show conveys “what the modern woman was wearing-the woman who is no longer wearing the corset and is wearing those reform dresses: the wider, looser clothing that was started in the English Arts and Crafts movement.”

Mannequins wearing Feng’s three outfits also sport headpieces by artist Brett McCormack. The two artists met on a train ride upstate: He told her he liked her style, she discovered he worked in paper, and voilà-collaboration.

Born in Nanjing, China, Feng moved to New York in 1985 and rose to prominence in the 1990s. The first Chinese designer to show at New York Fashion Week, she finally moved back to China in 2005. In 2010, she met her second husband in Shanghai; they discovered that they had been neighbors in New York, just one block apart. Since then, she’s maintained spaces in both cities.

Feng loves Austrian design-in the early 1900s, it was much influenced by Asian aesthetics, including its flatness (think Japanese woodblock prints). That cultural mingling is evident in pieces from that era, and Feng invokes that fusion in her Neue Galerie pieces, like a kimono of Viennese fabric. A tour of the artist’s apartment only reinforces her affinity for a multiplicity of influences; the decor boasts several Chinese and Austrian objects, and Feng mixes and matches, putting Austrian fabric on Chinese chairs.

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