Anna Sui layers her collections as chock-full of inspiration as a delicious, tiered cake. For spring, Sui was inspired by the works of Lila De Nobili. The Italian artist’s “chalky” drawings provided context for Sui’s lightweight fabrics; her costume work for Rudolf Nureyev’s “Sleeping Beauty” for the designer’s sleeping-gown-esque dress silhouettes, and her interiors work, which involved lines and flowers painted atop wallpaper, for her prints.
More structured fabrics, like khaki, eyelet and chambray were added to counterbalance the more feminine elements. Sui then sprinkled confection-like details — little floral and geometric embroideries or ruffled and feathered trims, to name a few — throughout, noting that her vast inspiration board was also filled with images of frothy cakes with roses and frosting as well as flower-topped cupcakes from one of Sui’s favorite Instagram accounts.
Fabrics were intertwined like patchwork on dresses, as in a paisley and floral poet’s sleeve nightgown or lilac gingham and eyelet frock with multi dotted paisley embroidery. A floral embroidered lace poncho with matching pants made for a standout in the collection, as did a matching buttercup yellow quilted bed jacket and swimsuit printed with tiny roses. Nubby knitwear, quilted or tweed jackets, lightweight “cellophane-y” fishermen vests and sequined trousers helped offset the dresses’ femininity and gave them a modern appeal. Each of the looks was finished with little printed socks, lace-trimmed Tevas, printed clogs or neon bordered John Fluevog boots; Erickson Beamon jewelry and adorable Xiyuan Xu princess-y lunchboxes. Sui’s spring confection was light, but rich in layers and sweet as can be.