Backstage, Anna Sui ticked off her references: the aesthetic movement, pre-Raphaelites, Tiffany vases, Fortuny pleats, medievalism, Gustav Klimt, and, oh, yes, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest. A beautiful mess? To some, maybe. But to her fans, watching the new and different ways she loops together her encyclopedic appreciation of fashion history each season is nothing less than a pure delight. With its iridescent prints, lively color combinations, and Art Nouveau-ish embroideriesto say nothing of the tooled-leather boots, velvet flower headpieces, beaded necklaces, and paisley tightsher Fall collection ranks among her most exuberant.
In no particular order, she showed a stained-glass bird-motif smock worn over a totem pole-print top, a white faux-suede fringed dress, a metallic lamé space-dyed cape, a multi-print caftan edged in python lamé, a curly lamb coat in ultramarine, and a black-and-cream Tibetan goat capelet. The cumulative effect? Very late sixties. "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" was playing on the sound system, and somewhere the Beatles' guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who died earlier this week at the age of 91, was smiling.