As is de rigueur for Anna Sui shows, there was a lot going on at Lincoln Center’s Theatre venue Wednesday evening. But, as always, Sui managed to do more than just send an assortment of colorful, maximalist, ornate and patterned clothes down a runway. Rather, she put on a show, with music, top models, lights and a set that transported us, impressively, to more than one place and time.
Throughout the show, Sui alternated between two themes: ’60s hippie love child and ’20s jazz age, with touches of chinoiserie sprinkled throughout. She used music, hair and styling to differentiate between the two periods, to a fittingly trippy effect. The theme switches were often signaled by a hippie couple walking together down the runway, the guy in some sort of ridiculous brocade robe-like jacket, no shirt and a beard. The real-looking male models truly inhabited their bohemian roles.
The clothes were luxe and busy. There was a ton of Mongolian fur and fox fur, pants and jackets were covered in glitter and shimmer and sequins, and boucle tweed popped up in the more toned-down looks — boas and giant tassel necklaces were piled on top of everything. And thanks to Sui’s impressive layering of reference points, the effect was more intriguing than overwhelming.
The collection was fun, ornate and vibrant — qualities many NYFW collections lack. But wearable? For a real person with a normal job, not so much. But for musicians and free-spirited front row guests like Tennessee Thomas, Sarah Sofie Flicker and Karen Elson? Sure.