The World Of Anna Sui | Part Two


For my second installment of The World Of Anna Sui I think I'm gonna just get stuck in with the photos - it's very picture heavy but I hope you enjoy all the little details and thought that goes into each look as much as I did. If you missed Part One check it out here!


The upper gallery is based around Anna's collaborations such as those with James Coviello and Fran├žois Nars. You can see Coviello's horse which was modelled for the A/W 1998 show.

PUNK

You may associate punks with nihilism, angst and rebellion but as always Anna adds a positive twist to the look by focusing on the DIY elements and bravado of the movement. She was impressed by the strict dress code of the British punks but instead of using the usual punky black and red colors they were replaced by pastels and metallics to keep things optimistic. If I was brave enough (and rich lololol) I'd be wearing that black diamante dress on a Saturday night!


GRUNGE

Anna's 1993 and 1994 Grunge collections really cemented her place on the fashion scene. Inspired by Kurt Cobain, whose band Nirvana took influence from The Beatles (a huge inspiration of Anna's) there was a slight cynical backlash as the movement was supposed to be 'anti-fashion'. However fashion reflects the mood of the time and this was a reaction against the flashy power dressing of the 1980's - as ever though, Anna kept things positive with rainbow stripes and florals. Don't you think those beautiful terracotta dresses would fit right in with the Reformation collections today? I think Lucy Williams would so rock one of them! And I can see that rainbow knit on so many of my favourite bloggers (most notably Olivia!)


ANDROGYNY
Androgyny is a common theme within Anna's collections - since the beginning she has included menswear alongside womenswear in her runway collections and it reflects the music she is influenced by from 60's rockstars to Kurt Cobain wearing dresses performing onstage in the 90's. A little controversial again, because as mentioned before Cobain was considered anti-fashion but fashion has always asked questions about gender and identity and continues to do so in the present day. I think these his and her looks are iconic!


AMERICANA

Despite being very influenced by British culture Anna is of course an American designer and it's important to her to promote the industry there so she has created her own take on the American Dream. Ever the storyteller she mixes historical and pop culture references, her 'characters' are optimistic and romantic and many of the materials used in her collections were resourced in America itself to really create the sense of her country's history. It's the little details like this that make all the difference and one of the many reasons that makes her such a special designer! Also, check out Naomi Campbell's strapless dress in the last pic - how cool is her personalised belt? 


SCHOOLGIRL

Again this theme represents the enthusiasm and positivity in Anna's work. She values innocence but not in the naive sense, more like a lack of cynicism - an optimistic view of the future, which I don't think is a bad attitude to have and also connects to Anna's 60's influences. I love the bomber jackets but it was a real treat to see one of the iconic babydoll dresses! I wish it wasn't so high up, I'd have liked to have had a closer look.


SURFER

It might not be obvious at first but the surfer inspired looks are also influenced by the 60's via the popular beach movies of the time - think Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii. In fact Steven Meisel often shot Lisa Marie Presley wearing this collection! The sunny, beachy sets appeals to Anna's optimistic side but as always there is a darker twist - these movies were made on artificial sets with actors nearing thirty playing teens so nothing is really as it seems. These are perhaps some of my least favourite looks in the exhibition.



ROCKSTAR

So you may have noticed by now how much Anna is influenced by music. Her collections usually have lots of rock and roll elements to them and she was very influenced by Anita Pallenberg (who became a friend and muse) and Keith Richards. She makes 60's looks contemporary which I think shows off her talent as a designer. Here you can see the backless chaps as worn by Naomi on the catwalk and later by Marilyn Manson at an awards ceremony! I lovelovelove the velvet pants worn with the Converse styley shoes.


RETRO

I love the retro style pieces, I think they show off both Anna's passion for historical dress and also her signature skill of making past looks contemporary. I love the accessories and styling that bring them up to date and the flattering cuts that hint back to a time gone by! 



So that's it for the lower gallery! As you go upstairs you'll find more information about Anna's collaborations with make up artists, hairdressers, accessory designers and photographers, most notably Steven Meisel. There's also a bit about Anna's design process and research which is super interesting as it's fascinating to see how much thought goes into each collection! 

Sorry this was so picture heavy but I hope you enjoyed it still. I think the whole exhibition may be a slight sensory overload for some as there's a lot of looks crammed into a small space, with areas scented by her different perfumes and a (rather excellent) grungey soundtrack played throughout. But it helps you get immersed into Anna's environment and you leave with a real sense of the designer's history and influences. The World of Anna Sui is on at the Fashion and Textile Museum until 1st October so if you're able to check it out in person I really recommend as there is just so much detail in each look it's almost impossible to capture them all on camera. I'd also suggest just going and checking out the surrounding area anyway, I may be biased as I was born and raised in Bermondsey but since the attack on Borough Market a lot of the small businesses have suffered and could do with some help! There's loads of places to eat and drink on Bermondsey Street as well as some cute independent shops to check out too. I always pop into Fuckoffee as well as the staff are super friendly despite the sweary name! And if you need extra convincing the whole street is very instagrammable ;-)

What do you think of Anna Sui? Have you visited the Fashion and Textile Museum before? I'd love to know your favourite looks here!

















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