Anna Sui is not strictly Japanese fashion, but she has such a colossal cult following in Japan that it’s impossible to ignore her influence. Myself and Retromantique worked together to write this review of the latest resort collection, which I am honestly in love with. I hope you will be too.
Anna’s Garden. A perfect title for Anna Sui’s Resort 2012-2013 collection. Resort collections are still a relative novelty in the fashion industry, created to give fashionable jet setters something to wear while traveling to warmer climates in the winter. To me, this collection is less about traveling to exotic locations as much as it is about traveling inward, uncovering a warmness within through a journey of romance and nostalgia.
True to form, Anna has drawn from a patchwork of inspiration for this collection, weaving threads between epochs, people and places that may have otherwise never crossed. A major element of the collection’s unique flavour can be found in the rather extreme prints, which combine the delicacy and opulence of Art Nouveau with the thick lines and loud colours of 60’s Pop art.
However, there is an unmistakable sense of serenity permeating through the designs that can be attributed to the heavy influence of garden and tea parties from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Appropriately, Anna is channeling the spirit and style of Lady Diana Cooper, an influential aristocrat and actress from the latter era.
The importance of florals in this collection cannot be understated. Expanding beyond the usual infatuation with roses and peonies, hydrangeas, lily pads, peonies, petunias, daisies, poppies and even seeding dandelions all make cameos. The prints are — as always — produced in-house (including an adorable tea cup print), printed on wonderful jacquard fabrics and adorned with custom lace. Beyond the superficial, Anna has delivered some truly wonderful details that garment aficionados are sure to pine over.
As always, there are a number of artists that influence the collection’s visual flavour. Antonio Lopez’s inspiration from Spring 2012 carries forward with the use of wrapped turbans as headwear. As well, Aubrey Beardsley’s use of monochromatic patterns can be seen reflected in a handful of pieces.
It’s hard to imagine under what circumstances this couldn’t be considered as Anna’s best Resort collection to date. Generally, it’s very easy to draw a line between Resort and the “main” Spring and Fall collections, which was accentuated with Resort 2011-2012’s rather tame offering. This collection could have easily held its own on the runway, perhaps with Paul McCartney’s English Tea playing over a Sissinghurst Castle Garden-inspired backdrop.