Fresh off her CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award and a collaboration with Target, Anna Sui is steadfastly in center ring—and it was clear from her stellar circus-themed Spring fling that she's comfortable there. "I'm always about optimism and exuberance. It's what I feel about fashion," said the designer a few days before taking her show on the road.

The clothes were pure big-tent Anna Sui, with lots of references to the Pop sixties—the designer's Valhalla. Models wore Mary Quant's Sassoon cut, or were transformed into latter-day Jean Shrimptons with flowered head scarves and shifts printed with circus animals, paisley, or apples. There were also ringmaster's jackets, Liberty patterns recolored "à la Anna Sui," and lots more tomboyish looks than usual. Blame that on Rex Harrison: Sui had been watching the 1967 version of Doctor Doolittle, and it must have really struck a chord because the tailored pieces—a flowered pantsuit on Ranya Mordanova, a voodoo-beaded denim shorts suit worn with a paillette-embroidered mesh dress—had a cool sixties-take-on-Victorian-menswear feel. (Vests never looked so good.)