Anna Sui’s cool country living at its best
When many women finally get their wish post-Covid to spend half their lives in the charm of the countryside with all sorts of witty and stylish pals, Anna Sui’s latest collection is what many of them will, and should, be wearing.
In a moment that cries out for a little escapism, Sui presented a collection of imaginative insouciance that just felt perfect for this season. Her spring-summer 2021 collection was the first major one shown online Tuesday morning, the third day of the three-and-a-quarter-day-long New York season. And, quite frankly, it looks set to be one of the best all week, Sui artfully channelling her usual wit and whimsey into some highly flattering and playful clothes. A collection that one could wear Urbe et Orbi, as they say in Rome.
Everything worked from the opening look – a see-though black crepe nightie dress worn by blond Asian beauty Soo Joo Park, followed by a half-dozen great romantic ensembles. Sui kept the mood light, with summer frocks worn with contrasting blouses and socks all done in varied prairie flower prints, completed by matching masks. Happily, there was not a pair of track-pants in sight, even if the cast of four wore the practical footwear of the moment – rubber-soled sandals with fabric trim.
Best of all, Sui cut forgivingly but never frumpily: the clothes all looked like they managed to hide any less-than-perfect torso, yet flatter the finest of figures. All accessorized with DIY vigour, from hats made of crochet and repurposed water bottles to dead-stock handbags.
“Suddenly spending so much time at home, I was inspired by how people adjusted their lifestyles and started learning new crafts or projects to pass the time. And I realized that creating something new out of something old was really what Anna Sui was all about,” explained the designer in a program note.
Staged before a beautiful painting of a gingerbread house, the sort Masha and the Bear would have lived in if they had ever made it to upstate New York. Edward Hopper post-pandemic courtesy of Oliphant Studio. Even the shortbread pie enjoyed by cast was cut with a paisley filigree seen in several outfits.
For the blushing bridesmaid finale at a New England posh-hippie nuptials, models Sara Grace Wallerstedt, Jordan Daniels and Sasha Knysh all looked rather divine in their gathered and perforated white dresses, Pat McGrath working her magic with naïve petals covering the cast’s faces.
While in New York, Anna Sui is an iconic fashion figure, too often folks back on the Continent and visiting European editors to America tend to overlook Sui. She is, however, a rather special designer whose video and online lookbook imagined a graceful and kinder world, when happier days will return to our troubled planet.
Quam bene vivas refert, non quam diu, as the ancients said.
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