Monday, September 16, 2019


3 Retro looks--part of The World of Anna Sui @MAD Museum

Rock 'n Roll meets retro-romance in the sentiment and style of NYC design icon Anna Sui. In a new retrospective at the Museum of Arts and Design, The World of Anna Sui, categorizes Sui's career milestones into thirteen themes complemented by sketches, photographs and runway footage. On view are 75 pieces from Sui's first runway show in 1991 to her Spring 2019 collection. Keep reading to see photos from the press preview... 

 Installation view [L] Hippie & Rockstar / [R] Victorian

Until February 23, 2020, the forth and fifth floors of MAD are transformed into an extension of Sui's NYC boutique, with signature purple decor and Victorian-esque wallpaper. Starting on the Fifth Floor, visitors journey into Sui's inspirations (e.g. pieces from her personal wardrobe and paper invitations to all her runway shows), her design processes and a timeline of progress. Reflected in the graphics and garb is the heavy influence of rock 'n roll and the cultural influences of her day. The fourth floor focuses on Sui's runway experiences with iconic styles, portraits and projected video footage.

Up Close

Though her first runway show was in 1991, Anna Sui launches her fashion line in 1980. Two years at Parsons, collaborative endeavors with her classmate--photographer Steven Meisel--and active participation in NYC's underground rock scene helped shape a unique design aesthetic. Hailing from Detroit, Sui was discovered by Macy's and Bloomingdales after she brought 5 pieces to a trade show in NYC. In 1992, Anna opens her first store on Greene St. in Soho and her reach has since expanded to 50 boutiques in 8 countries (most of which have red wooden floors and purple walls).

 Installation view of Grunge

Of Anna Sui's most iconic looks are a white babydoll dress worn by Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista during her Spring 1994 runway show. The style became a hit in the late 90s and is a centerpiece in the Schoolgirl section. Aside from frocks, there is a room dedicated to Sui's shoes, accessories, cosmetics and fragrances--including a set of Dolly Girl fragrances from 2003. Originally prepared for the Fashion and Textile Museum in London (2017), some of the content of this exhibit has been adapted for MAD by Assistant Curator Barbara Paris Gifford and Assistant Manager of Curatorial Affairs Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy. The World of Anna Sui is on show until February 23, 2020. 

Installation view of Fairytale / Nomad

 When Rough meets Romance

The Design Process: Mood Boards

Anna Sui's Inspiration

Diana Vreeland was a muse of Anna Sui

 Anna's own pieces that provide inspiration (e.g. Betsey Johnson)



Installation view Nomad

Fan Favorites 

Installation view Fairytale

Anna Sui Fragrances

Room displaying Anna Sui branded accessories and cosmetics

Designer Anna Sui and MAD Museum Director Chris Scoates

Legendary lineup

 Installation view [L] Mod / [R] Androgyny 

Installation view [L] Americana / [R] Schoolgirl

Installation view [R] Retro / [L] Surfer 

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