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The best thing about Anna Sui’s shows is that you know what to expect from them, at least in broad strokes. It’s the same reason why the beloved New York designer is currently the subject of a well-deserved “World of Anna Sui” retrospective at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, which is that there’s a reliable coherence and timelessness to her work that makes it as relevant now as it was when she first exploded as a designer in the early ’90s (she presented her very first collection in 1991).
For all of Sui’s recurring references—rock stars, punks, hippies, school girls, Victorian goth—she manages to spin them in a way that feels fresh and spirited. She’s less interested in being avant-garde than she is in being Anna Sui, a designer best known for her bohemian, fantastical style, for her prints and silhouettes.
Her show’s invitation promised a “be-in” this season, and indeed there was a distinctly ’70s, Woodstock-y vibe about it. The prélude to the show was a kind of love-and-peace march wherein all the models walked the runway together, slowly and in dim blue lighting.
Then she gave it to us full-on: fringed capes the likes of which Stevie Nicks would die for, moody florals, a mélange of colors and prints. She’s always been a more-is-more designer, which is sort of what Alessandro Michele is doing over at Gucci now.
Sui outlined every look in the collection on the show’s program, with apposite names like “Gathering of the Tribes Cape,” “House of the Rising Sun Bodysuit,” “Multi Incense and Joy Satin Burnout Top,” and “Multi Shades of Psychedelia Cape.”
Sure, it’s all variations on themes she’s played with before, but the collection also felt very of-the-moment. All things witchy and occult are in right now—and Sui delivered them in sartorial spades. LIZZIE CROCKER
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