Anna Sui is renovating her new apartment. She’d been reading up on interior designer Elsie de Wolfe for inspiration — from the homes de Wolfe designed, particularly for Countess Dorothy di Frasso in Beverly Hills; to the women she dressed; to the fabulous parties she threw, such as the Circus Ball held in 1938 at the Villa Trianon in Versailles, France, to celebrate Elsa Schiaparelli’s circus-themed couture collection. All of it left her yearning for the glamour and camaraderie of bygone eras.
“There’s touches of those women in the collection but also elements of decor,” Sui said. “It was almost like building an interior, piling textures on top of each other.” And pile them on she did. The collection showcased decadent, jewel-toned fabrics — crushed and panne velvet; satin devore; chinoiserie-printed jacquard trimmed with fur, fringe, lace and beading. Her all-star model cast rocked the runway in velvet tracksuits with metallic side-stripes for day and ruffled dresses under lush fox fur coats for night. There was a gothic, Victorian romance woven throughout, with Elizabethan lace ruffs and cuffs festooning some looks, and a dose of humor, with kitten and bunny brooches done by Erickson Beamon. Fall will look pretty funky if Sui has anything to do with it.