Grace Jones pumped through the sound system as I made my way into the tent for Anna Sui’s presentation Wednesday evening. For the umpteenth time last week, I felt nostalgia for the 80’s. Blondie’s “Sunday Girl” played next and, although I heard Debbie Harry was in the house, I never caught a glimpse of her. I did see Taylor Momsen (Gossip Girl), Justin Tranter (of the glam-rock band “Semi Precious Weapons”), Fern Mallis, Linda Wells, Suzy Menkes and Hal Rubenstein. A slew of models (or just some very tall, slender women) sat perched in front – clearly fans of Anna’s garb. At the end of the stage, Sui’s name was scrolled onto a giant nouveau-style backdrop which was also decorated with sparkly stars.
The collection projected a Victorian feeling as the first twelve outfits were all black velvet, wool and jacquard with touches of satin and lace. Ruffled blouses secured tightly at the neck with cameos further enforced the Victorian mood, as did the leg-of-mutton type sleeves that showed up in several jackets. But, leave it to Miss Sui to maintain an underlying sense of rock and roll and bohemian-chic that has become her signature. She kept things moving as lively prints and patterns frolicked down the catwalk in flouncy, chiffon dresses and flirty, wool gauze blouses. Color emerged within psychedelic prints and beautiful turquoise, saffron, heliotrope and ultramarine took on shapes such as; paisley, medallion, floral and butterflies. Rich ruby, Bordeaux, raisin and midnight hues combined with warm gold, copper and chocolate brown to produce complex pieces. Jackets incorporating strong shoulders, colorful border trims, beadwork and appliqué offset feminine dresses and skirts by adding structure. Sui promoted skirts that were mostly mini length and showed them with black thermal leggings and, of course, patterned hosiery. Suede belts studded with star shapes squeezed waists on several ensembles, but I especially adored the knit hats (provided by James Coviello) adorned with jewels and large ostrich feathers.
Whether or not one is a fan of Anna’s clothes or not, there is no debate that Ms. Sui has fine tuned and perfected her style over the years and her clothes are absolutely identifiable. She has developed quite a following of devotees and everyone enjoyed the show including models Jessica Stam, Sasha Pivovarova and Agnyess Deyn who danced during the final run and skipped arm in arm off the stage.
Photos by Stevyn Llewellyn