Gigi Hadid (remember her from the whole Tommy Hilfiger thing) in a black, embroidered cowboy hat, fringed leather jacket, and long floral print dress. Think about it. I could end the review here and you’d have a pretty good idea of what Anna Sui is preparing for spring. Oh, and Gigi even let younger sister Bella walk in this one, too. The quaintness was almost thick enough to cause one to choke.
“There’s always been an underlying spirit of pop culture Americana behind everything I create,” Ms. Sui said before presenting her Miss American Pie collection. She takes that Americana perspective to almost comical limits. There are pseudo-beehive hair styles, horn-rimmed eyeglasses, western-themed embroidery, cowboy boots, embroidery practically on top of embroidery, and a pick-up truck load of fringe. There was even—wait for it—bright pink eye shadow!
I can say that this is a very colorful collection. The challenge in that statement is that sometimes it feels that Ms. Sui has attempted to put every color she can find into every ensemble that walked down the runway. The collection is full of brightly colored embroidered designs, most of which have a nostalgic feel of late 19th century Americana. On one level, they’re really sweet. On another level, they’re a little campy. Occasionally, it’s just a little too much.
Between the embroidery and the floral prints, the collection can seem overly busy at times. Taken a piece at a time, though, the effect isn’t quite so bad. In fact, the looks are so original that I think they stand a good chance of selling particularly well next spring. The silhouettes have just the right mix of traditional looks with contemporary features. A pleated skirt has carefully placed sheer panels. A men’s embroidered western shirt with fringes has a black sheer panel on the back shoulders. Cheerleader outfits have sexy cutouts that probably violate school dress codes. Ms. Sui blends touches of old and new extremely well. So well, we wonder why no one did this sooner.
Through all this Americana, Ms. Sui not only shows an appreciation for American heritage, but the diversity of American culture. Look carefully and one not only sees silhouettes from one generation, but from multiple cultures. The collection is playful, but manages to keep an underlying sense of maturity. The looks are accessible, not frivolous.
This was a more fun and playful Anna Sui collection. The nostalgia brings you in, the creative design sells you. What a wonderfully inspired collection from one of our favorite designers!