The collection, to be sold at 25 Macy’s stores and on macys.com beginning in early September, is the latest in an ongoing series of designer capsule collections at Macy’s, a strategy considered by the retailer’s chief executive officer Jeff Gennette as a “third bucket” in the pursuit of exclusive merchandise. The department store has in the past collaborated with Karl Lagerfeld, Yigal Azrouël and Giambattista Valli, among other designers. Macy’s also has a well-developed stable of private brands such as INC. Hotel and Alfani, and sells some brands exclusively, such as Tommy Hilfiger sportswear.
The capsule of clothing and accessories is designed by Sui and developed by the INC team. “My favorite piece is a fringe trim dress that laces up the front, with a black-and-white heart print,” said the designer. “I did a lot of tops — cowboy-inspired tops with fringe. There’s also a prairie shirt with white lace and lots of embroidery, with a long puff sleeve, very fitted and very Victorian, and there’s a very beautiful black lace dress, with tiered ruffles.” Sui is known for a romantic rock-’n’-roll style, fantasy and some darker sides and a signature often associated with black.
The campaign was shot by Ellen von Unwerth in a New York studio with models Karen Elson and David Alexander Flinn. “It’s so fun, very pop, upbeat, with really eye-catching color,” said Sui.
Macy’s is indirectly responsible for Sui launching her own business. In 1981, Sui was working as a designer at another company when separately, unbeknownst to her boss, she created a collection under her name for Macy’s. An ad ran in The New York Times, which her boss noticed. “He fired me on the spot,” Sui said. Not long after, Sui went into business for herself, and since then, “Macy’s has steadily bought my collections. It’s only since the last recession that they haven’t.”
But she’s back in the store soon with not only Anna Sui x INC International Concepts, but there will also be an Anna Loves INC collection. That’s a broader line of sportswear, pants, T-shirts, coats and jackets, including basics, to be more widely distributed in the Macy’s chain and on macys.com, compared to the fashion-forward Anna Sui x INC.