I like to think of art as a space for imagining the world the way you would like it to be, and fashion is no different. The whole fun of playing dress-up is to imagine a version of yourself that may not exist yet, or to play up the parts of yourself that you might feel you have to hide. You could become a softer, tougher, more colorful, or out-of-this world version of yourself right now, just using what you've got in your closet (or your local thrift store!)
Anna Sui is a designer that, to me, fully embraces the power of playing dress-up. Her collections are bursting with life, with color and pattern, and packed with imagination, down to the tiniest details! I want to highlight some looks from one of my favorite collections, Spring/Summer 1994, to share some of that magic with you, especially at a time like this, where people are taking to the streets to demand the dismantling of the world as we know it now, in favour of a new, better way of being.
LOOK ONE: THE BEST HAT IN THE WORLD
First of all, I want to highlight how
wearable these looks are! They’re
very 90's, but Sui constructed some
really timeless silhouettes. This
look wouldn’t be out of place on an
Instagram feed, and you can find
similar pieces in thrift stores, so
it’s really accessible too. What you
might not find is that glorious panda
hat, though! I mean, look at it...
LOOK TWO: A SHIRT-DRESS FOR EVERY OCCASION
This look combines the staple
shirt-dress (or an over-sized button
down turned shirt-dress) with Sui’s
amazing styling! The denim vest adds
a new dimension to the silhouette,
defining the waist and elevating the
whole look. And then we’ve got a graphic tee underneath, to keep this look casual; and just for a little flair, a star brooch, paired with some silver combat boots. This look is a perfect example of how the use of accessories can transform an otherwise simple fit into something truly unique.
LOOK THREE: MIAMI NICE (let me have it...)
This one might be a hard sell, but as
a person who expresses their gender
in a fluid kind of way, here’s my
excuse: I think this outfit is
funny...I think it is silly, I think
it is fun, and I think there is a place in
fashion for that: for a kind of camp-ish, playful, masculinity. The suiting trend isn’t really a trend because it never really goes anywhere; the cuts of the suits just get updated and re-imagined with new shapes and fabrics. THAT BEING SAID, this look hits the current suiting trend right on the head. It’s light, it’s loose, and I could see a linen, earthier version of this fit on a JACQUEMUS runway. It’s even got some 70’s vibes to it with the brown jacket, so I could definitely see Harry Styles wearing some of these pieces too (and if it’s good enough for Harry...)
LOOK FOUR: GIRL NEXT DOOR
Aesthetically, I’m not much of a softie...I’m more of a chaos femme (and we can unpack all the many names I’ve got for my aesthetics another time), but when I look at this image, I am filled with the essence of the soft femme, the 90’s girl next door (literally head empty, just vibes...). Like, look at this gorgeous sheer printed dress, and that perfectly precious cream cardigan, and tell me you don’t want to twirl your hair around your fingers and watch scary movies and gorge on candy and popcorn with your friends and write your crush’s name over and over in your notebook and make your own jewelry...the magic of Anna Sui is especially apparent in looks like this, where even the simplest of looks take on their own life, because of the stories being told in the styling, in the patterns and colors; because of the stories we can construct for ourselves.