Anna Sui is fashion's consummate magpie, borrowing bits from here, pieces from there, but putting them all together as only she can. For fall, she sampled mostly from the sixties. There was a trace of Sgt. Pepper in a navy wool cardigan with brass closures, the patterned shirtdresses with white collars and cuffs brought to mind Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour, and the shifts cut from crocheted tablecloth suggested the pixie Mia Farrow. We've seen all this before from Sui, maybe more than once. But what surprised this time around was how pared-down and grown-up the collection felt. She's been known to scatter a pile of trompe l'oeil chains on a gauze dress. But when it's the real thing? Just one will do nicely, thank you.
Sui's girls are usually accessorized to the hilt, and there were a few fab wheelies in a carpetbagger velvet print, but some models hit the runway sans belt, bag, or hat. The lack of add-ons allowed for closer inspection of the clothes themselves, and this season there were some knockouts. An iridescent midnight-blue wrap dress puffed out below the waist, right on trend. Equally of the moment were a striped wool jacket and knickers worn with a ruffle-front ivory blouse. Meanwhile, Sui's metallic Jacquard dress will make you wish for the days, not so long ago, when boho was the biggest thing.