Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Anna Sui Resort 2024

Every visit to Anna Sui’s studio is a fashion lesson. This season, she provides guidance on the kebaya, a traditional garment, half shirt/half jacket, often embroidered, worn by Southeast Asian women, which you can tell has not been adopted by western designers as usual as a cheongsam or kimono. A pair of vintage kebayas in dainty cotton-voile are one of Sui’s references this season. A wall in her office is lined with other inspirations: a Peranakan pastel bowl (like, she says, “Chinese porcelain in acid,” Impressionist paintings, and dreamy digital images of butterflies by Danielle Bhavya Winter.

All of this translates together into a resort collection that leans youthful and whimsical in signature Sui fashion. After connecting with Winter, Sui printed her butterfly print on a knee-length metal mesh dress. Other party dresses were similarly pared down and finished with feathered hems. Silver foil sleeveless jackets and mini jackets were inspired by the gold versions Linda Evangelista wore on the designer’s runway during her supermodel heyday.

Lately, Sui has been taking advantage of Gen Z’s anemic

s and early ‘1990s. Here, she layered a baby T-shirt under a slip dress and cut cargo pants in a way that slacked the hips for those old enough to recognize the years.

A tattered velvet smock dress evocative of Monet’s Floral print at Giverny A vest is shown in the lookbook, patched by Computer-implemented, Sui marveled. This is the difference between fashion now and fashion then. Sui’s flair as a style expert lends her retro obsession universal appeal. Years from now, when someone stumbles upon her silk-jacquard pajamas adorned with “distressed” lace, they’ll likely be as excited as she was with those vintage kebayas this week.

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