Anna Sui’s designs swing young and engagingly rock ’n’ roll; her image, edgy (never mind that, in fact, she’s plenty grounded). The walls of her showroom pulse with girly Goth deep purple. She dresses mostly in black, her long bangs nearly obscuring her eyes. No, Sui is not your typical lifetime achievement award winner. Rather, she is the first designer of the downtown persuasion to be so honored by the CFDA. The award recognizes Sui’s impressive trajectory in fashion and also the evolution of an industry that not all that long ago viewed young-and-cool as an essential, but often irritating, little sister to more grown-up mainstream American fashion.
This world has indeed changed dramatically since Sui set up shop in 1980, and she has been at the forefront of the evolution. Her fashion obsession started strong — growing up in Detroit, she once determined to go an entire year without repeating an outfit — and early on became entwined with her love of rock ’n’ roll music. “It’s all part of the same fantasy,” she says. So much so that when approaching a collection, Sui researches music as voraciously as fabrics.
An unofficial expert on pop culture past and present and a museum and flea market fanatic, Sui takes inspiration from diverse sources: Yves Saint Laurent, Aubrey Beardsley, the late-19th-century Aesthetic Movement, even Busby Berkeley (whose spectaculars she likens to glam rock: “To me it was the same, flirty and fun, with lots of color”), and, for her upcoming Target Designer Collaborations collection, the “Gossip Girl” contingent. Yet whatever the particulars, the overall mood typically salutes the Sixties and Seventies. “That was the initial spark,” she notes. “I thought the world would always be like that, full of revolutionary ideas.”
Sui has parlayed that spark into an unusual global business, managing quite remarkably to stay independent, apart from three distribution partnerships in Asia. The Anna Sui brand now encompasses ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes and beauty, including a whopping 12 fragrances (eight still in circulation, with another set to launch this fall). Yet her legacy-in-the-making already stands for even more. Sui, who sources and produces most of her collection in New York, has spearheaded the Save the Garment Center movement, becoming its heart and soul. “It’s what I know,” she says. “It’s what I love.”
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye