NYFW: ANNA SUI S/S 2014

One of the things I enjoy about designer Anna Sui is that she is one of the most unpredictable creative people in fashion. She doesn’t seem to worry about whatever trends everyone else is following; she creates her own. She does intensive research into fabrics and art and cultural influences and the result is always a collection of clothing that looks nothing like what everyone else is sending down the runway.

This season is no different. For spring/summer 2014, Anna writes:

I’m looking at English Pre-Raphaelite paintings; my color palette comes directly from their luminous iridescent canvases. In the 1960s there was a pre-raphaelite revival; as seen in the romantic clothing, psychedelic posters and exotic interiors favored by rock personalities. Jimmy Page collected pre-raphaelite decorative arts. I’m styling the show with Maasai beaded jewelry and Javanese headdresses.

The end result of all that work and research was a collection of clothes that reminds me very much of what one might see at any of the hundreds of music festivals that occur across the country every summer. The only thing that was missing were hula hoops.

The line is based on an amazing collection of earth tone prints. Fabrics for women are light, sheer layers draped in the most bohemian of styles. Long strings of fringe can be found hanging loosely from vests, jackets, blouses, and even bikini tops. One of my favorite pieces from the collection is a crocheted dress made of natural fiber that appears to be hemp.

Anna includes menswear in her collection as well, and her choices there are a little more …interesting, definitely inspired by 1960s rockers such as Jimmy Hendrix. There are a lot of open coats and vests with faux fur trim and psychedelic patterns over solid colored velveteen pants. The effect is a little trippy, to be honest, and I don’t see the look holding up well out in the middle of a muddy field somewhere.

Whether any of these items will “catch” is, of course, anyone’s guess. Another favorite piece is a brown romper with flowers embroidered down the front. Do I know at least 300 people who would love that romper? Yes, but I don’t know that the festival sub-culture is strong enough to really fuel a retail trend.

Anna Sui’s collection isn’t for everyone, but I think there are millions of people, both children of the 60s and younger yoga fanatics, who will identify with this collection and help make it successful. Anna Sui is available at boutiques all over the country, so chances are there’s one near you.

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