Anna Sui lives in a world of acid dreams. The references may vary - this season she thought about her fantasies of moving to New York as a teenager, and the looks she envisioned New Yorkers playing with in the sixties before her arrival - but the heart is the same. She mines the more psychedelic moments of the past, the bohemia of the sixties and the seventies in particular, giving trippy, free-spirited 1960s Berkeley-revisited moments a modern transformation.
This season, the designer opened with Gigi and Bella Hadid walking in tandem, in scarlet red, shining micro-flower printed numbers to woozy sixties folk. There was a high-octane, high-glamour feel (just look at Bella’s shimmering beaded bell bottoms). The clothes here were more attention grabbing than Sui’s typical Haight and Ashbury-drawn, comfortably relaxed fare. A silk silver and deep red floral printed cocktail dress was decidedly fancy for one. There is a real sense of freedom to Sui’s designs - her separates almost always channel a free love, Woodstock touchstone, but this collection, with its brocade, flower strewn coating and black ostrich feather jackets, also felt opulent. The Anna Sui woman still enjoys a psychedelic aesthetic, a bit of Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel, but she is also ready for a night out.
The highlights of the offering? The coating, for one. Adut Akech walks in a baby blue and black shag - one could curl up in that - and Natalie Wrestling’s fuzzy floor-length Prince-purple bathrobe-shag combo looked irreverently cool. Are the looks wearable? That’s debatable. But they are fun. There’s a hint of vintage dress-up at play; the idea of getting ready and transforming yourself completely, in unabashed fashion, before a night out. Whether or not the look is for you, there is something to love about that.