Tony Duquette’s costumes for the 1955 romp “Kismet” — set in old Baghdad — set the stage for Anna Sui’s wonderful, whimsical show. “I loved in ‘Kismet’ when they had this shopping scene, all the sets and decor [were] neutral, off-white and gold, and the pops of color were the costumes and objects in the market. So I used that as a jumping-off point,” said Sui, who installed a Grand Bazaar in the middle of her runway. Call it “buy-now-see-later.”
Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kaia Gerber, Taylor Hill, Fei Fei Sun and Kiki Willems picked their way through the market’s vendors — jewelry from Erickson Beamon, jackets from South Paradiso Leather, hand-embellished vintage from Nomad Vintage and hand-dyed indigo shibori T-shirts from Dailola — before their runway walks.
For her collection, Sui looked to other exotic locales for inspiration. An art deco theater with tiled walls in Catalina, a summer jaunt to Nashville, dreams of Polynesia and Marianne Faithfull’s Shell Cottage, to name a few, resulted in a hodgepodge of underwater and tropical prints with embellishment, lace and shimmer. But it truly worked, and evoked a sense of wonder with modern freshness right down to the accessories: brocade bucket hats, fanny packs and fanciful socks under printed platform Tevas or leather Bed Stu sneakers.
Looks ranged from a coral printed crinkle-chiffon dress with a cool brocade and Lurex fishermen’s vest with matching shorts to a beaded swimsuit under sheer, mermaid-printed dusters. There were also silky, fringed cowboy shirts; bed jackets over chiffon sarongs; Lurex babydoll dresses, and a standout jacquard dress in black and emerald. Sui’s ability to transport her audience with stunning clothes made it one of her strongest showings yet.