Viviano Sue makes clothes that are unapologetically fun and flouncy, and his shows always draw a candy shop of brightly dressed devotees (many of them influencers), which makes the crowd-watching almost as visually stimulating as the collections he shows.
Speaking after this one, which marked the last physical runway of this season’s Tokyo calendar, he shared some background on where his particular brand of frivolity comes from: “I’m a Chinese boy that grew up in America and my father was quite traditional. I was always told what I should and shouldn’t do as a kid, but… I just don’t feel that right now! We need to be more free, and we should wear anything we want. If you feel confident and comfortable, you should show people.”
His collection this time was inspired by the 1967 French musical The Young Girls of Rochefort, and thus featured a hippyish color palette that recalled Catherine Deneuve’s canary yellow dress complemented by pastel pinks and seaside blues, while nautical references to Jacques Perrin’s sailor costume came through in the dixie cups and flap collars. Flamingo flower prints covered peplum dresses and baseball caps, and the brand’s go-to tulle sprouted from tough-looking bomber jackets, denim blazers, and sheer frilly coats.
Occasionally it feels like Viviano’s sugariness could do with some more spice—dessert is the fun part, but you don’t want it for every course. Then again, Sue’s message is so relentlessly positive, and he’s so generous with his joy, that resistance is futile. “After Covid, I felt like the world got really dark, and I think now we just have to enjoy the moment because we don’t know what’s going to happen next,” he said. “We’re making these clothes to make people happy, to spread that joy.” As the models skipped down the runway hand-in-hand for the finale, grinning in their bright and sparkly dresses, it lifted the spirit. Even after a long week of shows, it was impossible not to smile along.