“I’m calling my Spring 2020 collection Victorianna!” Anna Sui exclaimed.
Sui’s latest collections have acknowledged the tough climate we find ourselves in. In response to this, Sui’s latest offerings have channeled the positive, with her fall collection focused on optimism with a collection that she nicknamed “Poptimism” trying to make sense of the times we find ourselves in.
This SS20, the theme continued with a collection that spoke to that positivism, with her “lighthearted take on Victorian themes”. And when Sui does Victorian themes, she does it with the most whimsical of color palettes, think beautiful pastels, lemon curd, powdered blues, mint pistachio and the dreamiest of lilacs and dusty rose.
The story behind the collection, inspired by the orphaned girl Pollyanna, a Halley Mills film (1960), who believed that life's most difficult challenges can be overcome by positivity and pragmatism.
Sui’s final influence, Lila de Nobili, the mid-20th-century artist, illustrator and costume designer whose collaborations with interior decorator, Renzo Mongiardiono served as her inspiration, in particular Lee Radziwill’s dinning room with a collage of Sicilian scarves pasted to the walls that were then traced and embellished by the hand of De Nobili’s with his Victorian roses. The influence was reflected in her botanical patchwork jacket, recreating the effect with the line of the pattern which Sui traced on frosted seed beads and further embellished with intricate embroidered flowers.
Sui’s collection was as varied as it was stunning. SS20 has focused on pieces that played around with texture, and a variety of silhouettes, vests, marabou boa trimmed robes, chambray shirts, vintage inspired swimwear, calling back to the Victorian influence with a chambray lace Victorian jacket and other textures such as jacquard dresses.
Kaftans and dresses and silk trousers reminiscent of the pajama trend but Sui’s interpretation meant the designer created the looks with a more dreamlike quality, a rose embroidered sequin pants with feather trim. Long tunic dresses, utility jackets, broderie mini dresses and a plethora of fabrics in the mix, with knitwear, tweed and gingham. Kaftans and ponchos that have never looked so desirable as Sui created her oversized floral versions with lace paired over a zig-zag knit dress.
Sui isn’t one to follow trends, but this collection, with its ethereal dresses, were given a little edge with pops of neon, paired with a sneaker or platform kept each look fresh, romantic and timeless but equally fun, playful and current, helping to express the duality of women, romantic, confident and totally comfortable in her own skin.
A collection that was filled with escapism, optimism and allowed us into Sui’s beautiful world, what could be better than that, after all who wouldn’t want to be there?
Photo credit: Raoul Gatchalian and Thomas Lau