As rents up and down Seventh Avenue become more expensive, clothing manufacturers are getting pushed out. If the "Save the Garment Center" T-shirt Anna Sui put in her goody bagwhat, no free hairstyling products?and wore to take her bow don't do much to stem the problem, her Spring collection, with all of its beading and appliqué work, might just keep a few factories in business. Sui took inspiration from the way that textile designer, shopkeeper, and New York Mexican restaurant pioneer Alexander Girard and his doll-maker friend Marilyn Neuhart made the folkloric modern. "Their work was very colorful, optimistic, and happy, which is what I'm pushing these days," Sui said.
The parade of shift dresses, rompers, and peasant tops worn with kicky skirts had a vaguely south-of-the-border feelthink rosebud embroideries, rickrack borders, and fringe detailing. But as usual, there was plenty more in Sui's madcap mix to catch the eye, including astrology prints, a detour into Spanish toreador mode, studded gladiator sandals, and some of the grooviest costume jewelry (made by Erickson Beamon) in a season of groovy costume jewelry. If it didn't put a smile on your face, you weren't paying attention.