Anna Sui’s collection is always one of the most eagerly anticipated shows of every fashion week season. She’s best known for a boho and rock ‘n roll flair and a cheerful, high energy show full of fun clothes to covet. This season at Mercedes Benz Fashion week was also a nod to rock ‘n roll, even though she had a deejay playing a lot of tunes from the 30’s and 40’s to go with the 46 looks she presented in The Theater at Lincoln Center. The legendary designer had more than 100 photographers in the pit at the end of the walkway, perhaps the most of all the shows during Fashion Week. She also characteristically offers the entire audience, not just the front row, a little thank-you gift at each seat.
Anna Sui puts together prints, plaids and intense textures better than anyone–and this time, she went for a retro 60’s look that was a little bit Jackie O and a little bit hippie. One could imagine the fashions walking down the runway on the wives of the Beatles on their legendary trip to India to meet the Maharishi. Sui’s intense color palette included tribal prints in turquoise, and dark orange the color of a rich, baked yam. In her characteristically clashing of styles, over-the-ear caps (some “spirit hood-like” with owl eyes, or ears), were worn with clashing colors. Anything crocheted or knitted appeared to be hand crafted.
Sui also paid homage to glamorous ball gowns of past days by including chiffon dresses in her fall collection. She probably used more types of fabrics than any single designer in Fashion Week, Models walked the runway in leather, chiffon, crocheted wool, silk jacquard, laser cut wool, laser cut viscose and/or rayon, and a multitude of laces! There was also a lot of playful faux fur trim and chain belts used along the way. Some of the furry vests and jacket s looked like they could have been plucked from Sonny & Cher’s closet back in the day, while much of the headwear looked like it came from Cirque Du Soleil or Joan Crawford’s closet in the 40’s and 50’s.
Walking into Anna Sui’s Soho store is like walking into a collage, as are her runway shows. But while there appears to be a lot of mixed media, color and confusing styles, the clothing, worn as separates, are very user-friendly, Wear a bold, bright Anna Sui design with a pair of black pants or a black silk shirt and you make a lovely, cheerful statement without being over the top. Adding just one of her great looking coats or fringe-y sweaters or vests would make Fall 2012 your season to show off a little. Anna Sui is about perpetual youth, which always includes a heavy nod to rock and roll, but her fans come from all walks of life. For example, one of her biggest fans is Russell Simmons, who was in the audience.
Anna Sui’s show is one not to be missed during any Fashion Week. When you’re tired from running around to a zillion shows, Anna Sui’s is the one that picks your spirit and energy level back up.
Thanks to guest writer Anne Raso for this report. Photographers and Russell Simmons photos by Anne Raso