Anna Sui Fall 2020 Collection at New York Fashion Week (Photo: Lev Radin/Gildshire)
For 29 years now, Anna Sui, Detroit native turned New Yorker, has been sending fabulous designs down the runway at New York Fashion Week. Since the ‘70s, Sui has lived in New York City and she says it has “changed her so much.” As she has grown, so have her designs. This year, Sui presented a collection based on 1970s Italian horror, specifically of the B movie variety. Though she does not love scary movies, she adores glamorous illusion, and that is precisely what she created for her Fall 2020 collection.
Sui said that with everything becoming so digital, so in your face, and so real, the fun of illusion is missing. Glamour, too, has been missing lately with sporty look the fashion world has just gone through, it is time to bring back some glamour. This collection is Sui’s way of bringing back fantasy, illusion, and glamour. Featuring cat eye glasses, lace up boots, chunky high heels, a fiery red cape, and…oh yeah, devil horns, Sui certainly stunned the crowd. This Fall 2020 collection is quite a ways away from her typical look in that Sui usually designs more dreamily bohemian, rather than the vampire-esque look she presented. However, her collection is still a dream of sorts, simply airing on the more nightmarish side. The flowy, floral, crocheted features she often includes in her collections still managed to make an appearance, even if several shades darker. Sui mixed textures and prints, highlighted faux leather and faux fur, introduced burnout velvet layered organza, accentuated cut-out dresses, and truly emphasized the fantastical, glamorous look.
Among the variety of 70s horror movies, the Catherine Deneuve-David Bowie cult favorite, The Hunger, Daughters of Darkness, and Black Lace are a few films that fascinated her. She claims she watched so many of those movies in the months prior to the collection being released. She commented that women tended to wear negligees and peignoirs in the movies. In seeing Sui’s collection, it is impossible to not think of goth vampires. The devil horns atop a model wearing a black, sequined evening gown with gloves to match drives the point home. The lighting Sui chose created a macabre look – the show started off with a blood red light flashing over the studio as the models turned around in unison to begin walking down the runway. It was so bright that it made the model’s hair appear as if it were dyed red! The lights changed colors to a vivid purple and garish green later on, continuing to alter the looks.
From the bold chokers to the crinkle velvet gowns to the dark makeup, the vampire feel was incredibly present. Hair and makeup could not have been achieved without the help of makeup artist Pat McGrath and hairstylist Garren. With dark black eyeliner outlining intense color on the eyelids and a deep, blood red lipstick, the models rocked the dramatic smokey eye look. Paired with fascinator hats atop intentionally messy, rolled pouf updos, the whole look screamed goth glam.
Anna Sui is 40 years deep and legendary in the fashion industry, though since she was four years old she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer. She is a classic New York success story: suburban girl who was accepted to college and never looked away from her dreams. Her innovative designs come from deep within herself, inspired by cultural arcanas and vintage styles. Fashion is what she loves and she says it is something that she hopes she can do forever. She calls herself a shopaholic, constantly rearranging her closets and switching out her closets. She says it is an obsession, which really just speaks to her passion for fashion.