Anna Sui often pegs her collections to a certain era: In recent seasons, she's spun through on hippie chic, mod style, and moody, sixties-era Biba girls. This season, Sui drew on the rich romance of the American West in the late nineteenth century, plucking bits and pieces from cowboys, Indians, settlers, soldiers, and (in a more modern moment) rhinestone-bedecked rodeo girls. "With all the interest in Victoriana right now, it makes sense to look to what was going on in our country," Sui said. "This is what was happening here."

Sui always puts on a good show: The soundtrack is carefully chosen (this season, those New Romantic admirers of the Old West, Adam and the Ants, figured large). And every exit is an outfit, with appropriate accessories: for instance, a cropped denim jacket over a pintucked voile dress, with an embroidered petticoat underneath, all wrapped with a silver conch belt and accessorized with scrunched cowboy boots and a scruffy hat. At first, that comes across as costumey; take it apart, though, and you see why Sui is a veteran favorite of the downtown, rock 'n' roll crowd. All the trends are there, but confidently Sui-ified: loose, light frocks in vintage-looking floral prints, sweet voile pintucked blouses, full petticoat skirts with lots of embroidery, stylish cropped jackets, and an Empire-waist top with ribbon tie. The prairie never looked so good.