While Anna Sui’s collaged, Sixties pop poster backdrop set the tone for her show, growing up in Detroit served as the origin of her collection. Not old enough to get into the now-closed Grande Ballroom in Detroit, Sui befriended an older high schooler who brought her back handbills from the shows. So began Sui’s fascination with these graphic, psychedelic posters from the Sixties, which now fill her home.
“Poptimistic,” she called it for fall, pulling vibrant colors from the works of Gary Grimshaw (who originally did posters for the Grande Ballroom), Victor Moscoso, Milton Glaser, Carl Lundgren, David Palladini (his “The Sun” tarot card poster being one of her favorites), as well as Disney illustrator Mary Blair and cartoonist David Weidman into the collection. As the show started, models emerged, vibrant from head to toe against the poster wall backdrop. (Some of said posters, both digital prints from the artists or actual Grimshaw reissues, were available for purchase in the middle of the runway post-show. Sui worked with a curator from the upcoming Poster House museum on 23rd Street to track down and connect with some of the artists.)
As for the lineup, dresses, which Sui is known for, were given a twist with ladylike silhouettes piled under wonderful, bright faux fur coats or granny tweeds and embellished knit cardigans. A nubby pumpkin-cord button-up skirt and jacket nicely offset a wonderful purple feather trimmed metallic jacquard floral frock. Floral blooms aplenty— printed on ruffled blouses and technical outerwear as well as in burnout velvet, sequins or metallic jacquard on modest but eccentric dresses — were a counterpoint to a few textural plaids, velvet, animal prints or solid offerings, like a green mohair and faux fur coat. Sui topped the girls off with vibrant tights, punky wigs, fluffy hats and chunky, buckled mary janes from John Fluevog to add to the cheerful, slightly campy vibe that was rooted in major sixties and seventies nostalgia.