nyfw: anna sui

(images via style)

an anna sui show is always a great and powerful thing that drops by during new york fashion week to cut through all of the excess pomp and pretentiousness to leave me feeling light and eternally happy. so long as i’m looking at or thinking of her collection, of course. as we move beyond it into the great and foreboding world the fashionies inhabit, things might get dicey pretty quickly. but whenever we’re here, in annaland, times are all retro styling, vintage prints, colours, and glee, without that overbearing feeling of stuffiness the rest of the shows sometimes give us, with models even (usually) encouraged to smile during their walks down the cat…walk.

anyway, over the seasons, although as i like to point out, we can form particular attachments to specific labels, no matter how we try to stay neutral (and i’m bad as anyone, both with my great loves, and with those which i have a great disdain for), and even those favourites we form can have something of an ‘off’ season. but! there are a few designers that are just magical, and never seem to succumb to poor collection time (although, admittedly, some shows perhaps aren’t quite as charming as others), and of course i’d say ms. sui is one, with pretty much every show since opt has begun covering her work (see a/w 2010, s/s 2011, a/w 2011, resort 2012, s/s 2012, a/w 2012, resort 2013, s/s 2013) turning out equally rad.

so all right, then. with all of that in mind, where did that leave us for the a/w 2013 season? i’d say in resoundingly happy-land, of course, with all the splashes of bright colour (including fuchsia, teal, merlot, tiffany blue, forest green, indigo, cherry, green apple, rusty orange magenta, ocher, cerulean, and probably many more i can’t think of as my brain was just inundated with all the vivid hues), cheerful geometric prints, and swinging details in the little shift dresses, cropped coats and jackets, patterned stockings, little sweaters, and stovepipe trousers set to evoke one of the designer’s favourite decades–the 1960’s.

and so, as wwd dropped by to inform us, “French New Wave. Godard. Anna Karina. These were just a few catchwords that Anna Sui named backstage to describe her fall lineup. She loved the graphic aesthetic of Godard’s films — particularly his set designs, the use of red and blue, black and white and even his fonts. Over the top as this Sui collection was, it was colorful and playful, with some fun pieces that are sure to please. Graphic, A-line dresses were layered over collared shirts or thin, patterned sweaters and paired with beaded neckties for a masculine-feminine look. Faux fur jackets and coats added volume and texture to some of the Sixties-esque striped and printed frocks. Lightweight sweater dresses, worn solo or under cardigans and little jackets, showed up in bright, contrast colors with cropped sleeves and matching knee socks.”

meanwhile, the fashion spot decided that “(t)he 60s influence was graphic and in your face…Bold, bright, a little more geometric than we’ve come to expect of Sui — cleaner lines and sharper silhouettes…Seeing these prints is like watching a pop art show scroll by; the hosiery, too, is a show unto itself. These compelling details helped maintain interest as silhouettes didn’t vary too much. A lot of A-line mini-dresses with perfectly coordinating coats. Done in metallic gold quilting, it definitely took on a singular personality, though, and this was a standout piece. More subdued colors and sophisticated shapes and patterns elevated the last portion of the collection. Sui’s visual assault is easier to take in when it’s black on black, gold on gold, white on white.”

and the ap related that “(t)he dresses matched the tights, which matched the shoes, which matched the jewelry. It all added up to a real show…with the models performing a little 1960s-style dance before they showed off their outfits. They wore colorful swinging minidresses, including sweaterdresses and jumpers, that were fully coordinated with coats and vests. The concept blossomed after Sui caught a French New Wave film — and then many more French New Wave films — from an era that the designer has always felt a strong attachment. She also noted that the early ’60s coincided with the revival of Chanel, and that a sort of chic ladylike dress — albeit a very young lady — was a prevailing theme.”

“But there was no parade of black,” they carried on, “which has been one of the key trends to emerge from this round of designer previews. There were a few black pieces, such as a fuzzy Mongolian faux fur and black suede pants with grommets, but this was a celebration of color. Godard’s early films were indeed black and white, but once he moved to color, he never stopped, explained Sui. Her palette included hot pink, aqua blue, red, midnight blue and sapphire green. She also used a lot of print. The high-neck shifts and cardigan coats are flirty, but safe territory for Sui’s typically young customer.”

elsewhere, trilled fab sugar, “it was a retro ’60s lineup that catered to the various moods of one very cool, very psychedelic Parisian girl. From the more charming schoolgirl pieces in blues, greens, and cinnamon reds to the glam-rocker embellishments and metallic golds to the more easygoing bohemian-esque crocheted dresses and paisley-printed separates, there was a silhouette for every styling personality. The models were smiling — yes, smiling — the front row was bopping along to the beat, and the clothes were equally energetic.”

“Varying shades of reds, greens, and blues dominated the show, appearing in tights, outerwear and contrasting with each other in a bevy of prints,” remarked kenton magazine. “Creative layering brought an effortlessly cool vibe to the show, while oversized furs brought in an element of sophisticated glamor. The day looks project the image of a confident and youthful downtown girl who’s clearly seeking to have fun with her style…For evening, Anna paired metallic dresses and separates with chunky knits, fur vests, and cropped fur coats. The prints continue of course, but there’s also a large focus on monochromatic black and white looks, which rely on contrasting textures to give the outfits an edge.”

“Everything you come across you throw into the mix,” style quoted the designer as explaining, before themselves carrying on to point out that “that hardly gives full credit to the fierce discipline and eagle eye for detail that are essential assets for Sui when she sets about re-envisioning a cultural crush moment from her past. They’re what allow her to mash a pell-mell overload of colors, textures, patterns, and accessories into a coherent whole…Sui’s details caught the flavor of the period: the jeune fille jumper dress, the boy-watcher sunglasses, the colored tights and loafers, the kneesocks, the shift and matching helmet in Courrèges-daisy-embroidered organza.”

“Yes, Sui is probably contemporary fashion’s most lovable archaeologist, but simple historicism can turn on a dime into a leaden nostalgia-fest. What continually steers her to safety is the fact that every collection is, in some way, the consummation of a youthful fantasy for her,” they continued. “And that is the ultimately convincing quality that seeps off her catwalk. Like today, when it felt like the long road from One Plus One to Aymeline Valade as Anna Karina for the twenty-first century completed a circle for Sui. The single regret is that she didn’t stick to her original intention to make a collection that was as monochrome as her Godardian inspiration. So peerless a colorist is she that a body quivers with anticipation at the thought of where a world of black and white might take her.”

then, in their new capacity as fashion reporters, mtv rode in to say that “(i)n colors ranging from red to bright pink, bronze and orange, Karlie’s opening look was like a school uniform gone mad, a small tie done in bright red sequins and a rounded collar. This collection was really about color and about fabric, showing silks, wools, and velvets in a range of warm jewel tones perfect for the chilliest days of fall. There were three main color palettes–red, blue, and green–and Sui kept each look within one of those palettes. This was no matchy-matchy monotone and there was no color blocking in sight. Take notes, because this wasn’t just at Anna Sui: one of the biggest lessons we’re taking from the shows is that there’s nothing more glamorous than a play on pattern, and the brighter the better.”

and in a more lighthearted tone much like the clothes themselves, the ny post merrily described how “(w)hen the lights came up and the music came on, the models at the top of the runway began a cheeky dance routine that signaled Sui’s Paris-circa-1960s influence. Swingy dresses and tunics were paired with matching tights, and chain-strapped bags were quilted, a la Chanel. The looks were young and the colors were rich; indigo, teal, magenta and grape. Faux Mongolian and chinchilla fur draped over lace dresses and daisy-printed separates, and between the sequined mesh and grommet-adorned suede, Sui hit all the cool girl notes.”

then, finally, vogue reflected that “(t)he designer was in a decidedly French – by way of the Sixties – mood and even began the show with her line-up of models doing a little dance routine at the top of the catwalk, two of them inside lit-up cages. Well, c’est show business, non? On with the clothes in question and it was a typical and trusted outing from Sui in the shape of retro knits and big shaggy furs, bejewelled shades and bejwelled details – huge medallions hung round necks – on babydoll dresses and sweet shifts. There were prim collars to groovy short dresses over the top, capes and ladylike jackets.”

“Her boho Parisian chick had something of a star quality – who’s that girl all eyeliner flicked and hair worn high in a tucked-in ponytail style? She’s fun that’s for sure and she’s feeling a little Austin Powers groovy, switching from Sixties sophistication to crazy cat and girl about town – oh, and doing it to the soundtrack of Kylie’s Locomotion in French all the while. Sui doesn’t necessarily surprise but then it’s always good to know there’s a party you can turn up to and know it’ll be a good one,” they concluded. *ow.

(enjoy the full collection video here)

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