“Creativity is a brewin’ — new ideas are in the air, travel is back, and the streets are filled with chatter and laughter. Everything is so vibrant and lively!” Anna Sui’s resort collection notes read.
Desiring a bit more romance for the season, in tandem with the influx of creative energy coming out of the pandemic, Sui was inspired to look back to the 1920s period of Vienna’s Wiener Werkstaette, where the same energy resonated.
“I love the period of Wiener Werkstaette, I looked through books and images and put up some of my favorite artists from that period,” Sui noted of her collection mood board, filled with Josef Hoffman’s architectural black-and-white square patterns, Dagobert Peche’s and Mathilde Flögl’s imaginative, layered works, Gustav Klimt’s richly colored, dramatic paintings, maiolica and imagery pulled from the 1921 film “Enchantment” — featuring the spirited Marion Davies and sets by Josef Urban. Inspired by the “total work of art,” Sui designed her “Enchantment” resort collection around the prints, hues and feelings of the film. To drive the point home, she presented it with the idea of a photo album in mind; each picture emulating a postcard with a border reminiscent of collection prints.
Like fall, Sui started with a palette of black and white, then folded in colored groupings of grassy green and sharp lilac, red and yellow, blues and purples to mix on the black grounds. She richly layered vintage-inspired prints — lilies of the valley, rosebuds and floral blooms — as well as a good amount of checkerboard motifs (both reminiscent of the era, and wildly popular today) and windowpane patterns with rich fabrications and textures. The mixed media layered looks of frocks, cute boxy suit and skirt sets, playful jackets, mesh separates, knits by Rebecca Zwanzig, and so forth felt fresh with more of a punky spirit brought forth from accessories — fishnet tights, Dr. Martens boots, beanies and kitchy, DIY-style “Daisy Chain” jewelry by Bonnie Robbins.
“Everyone’s so interested in my ’90s stuff, so we have little hints of it throughout,” Sui said of her updated Madonna babydoll dress in “floral garden” lace, while nodding to “Clueless,” with a chunky, cherry red plaid skirted suit set. In addition, the popularity of Sui’s mesh designs caused a surge in its volume for resort, displayed either as full looks (a lettuce-edged trouser with asymmetrical top) or versatile layers (a checkerboard mesh top beneath a black checkerboard-and-rose cardigan, windowpane trousers and stellar checkerboard faux fur coat, or black fishnet mesh tops under embroidered, corseted denim looks, which Sui noted to be perfect for a “Punk prom”).
At the end of Sui’s resort collection walkthrough, a contrasting grouping of vivid floral printed fashions stood out at the end of the rack.
“I’m doing a collaboration with Batsheva,” she exclaimed. “She and I traded fabrics — here’s my dress and top in her fabric. We are good friends; she’s come over for a coffee and we’d sit and chat about what’s going on with work. So one weekend, I thought, ‘I should ask her if she wants to do a collaboration.’ She did two, they’re her very trademarked shapes. We’ve been talking about it for about a month now and put together the samples last week.”
The Anna Sui and Batsheva capsule is slated to release later this year, with a majority of the collaboration’s details under wraps.