Anna Sui Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2014 New York

Ethereal Karen Elson, her glorious red tresses coiffed with a butterfly headdress, had something of Titania, queen of the fairies to her. At Anna Sui last night, she played the part of the flame haired pixie to perfection, opening and closing this chapter of the designer’s dreamy universe.

From the start, it looked a tad trippy with a backdrop painted by colorful artistic mind Alia Penner in shades of blues and greens, with a touch of sparkle. But this was no simple trip to India, or a trippy riff on the 70s flower children. No doubt there are references to Anna Sui’s own vast fonts of souvenirs and experiences, but those intimate nuances escape those who are not in the designer’s confidence.

So yes, it was a bit of a hippie fest, with lambskin vests and flower wreaths in the hair, floaty fringed florals and earth colored knits, Erickson Beamon jewelry and draped scarves. But it was also artfully arranged that one could almost envision wearing a full-on crochet outfit. On the boys, Sui went with simple, laid-back and detailed. One stunner was a blue jacket with an incredible all-over motif.

An iridescent chiffon, catching the light on a layered dress with fringes may not be for everyone, but it speaks volumes on the designer’s attention to detail. And as a tank dress trimmed with marabou feathers, it made a compelling case for itself. It was more Midsummer Night’s Dream than Summer of 69. But there was plenty to take away for everyone: a shift dress with a geometric rising sun motif on the bodice, floaty dresses in varying almost neutral shades, all charming, even if your thing is color-blocking.

There is no need to judge Anna Sui by any other criteria than those set by her creative universe. Lovable and kookie, she’s cornered the market for creating moments that are a mille-feuille of references. The detailing she puts into it all and her truly personal vision are part and parcel to her continued appeal.

– Lily Templeton