If the backdrop, done up like a cartoon version of her store, was any indication, fall was going to be pure, classic Anna Sui. And it was, riotously and festively so. The designer hit all her hallmarks — Mod, rocker babe, boho chic, Twenties, Portobello Road — and there was a very clear thread throughout. In a preview, she recalled meeting Sixties trendsetters Jane and Victoria Ormsby Gore 10 years ago. “I wanted to know where they got their inspiration,” said Sui. “And why Mod turned into romantic dandy.” Their answer: a 1967 Sotheby’s auction of Ballet Russes costumes they attended where they scored the outfits from the ensemble cast.
All of which became the narrative on her terrific runway romp. First off was that Mod ode, which she launched with an army of models in graphic threads. There were plaid and op-art printed dresses along with boyish tailoring in a strict palette of black and white. Then color! Mostly lime, eggplant and pumpkin, signaling a turn into Diaghilev territory (Art Deco intarsias on sweaters) before veering toward fairytale glam, still à la Russe. The merch here: faux fox fur stoles tossed over filmy metallic dresses and burnout velvet tops and shorts. The prints flew fast and furious, naturally, but Sui worked in the more sensible winter stuff too with, for instance, the patchworked tweed-denim jackets and camo parkas, including one in shiny jacquard. And she hit a practical note with colorful Hush Puppies flats, a revival of a mid-Nineties collaboration between the footwear company and Sui. “They’re from Michigan,” remarked the Detroit native. “So that was exciting, too.”