New York’s Trippiest Designer Loves a Prairie Dress

Anna Sui. Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

One thing you’ll always get out of an Anna Sui runway show is a barrage of bright color. The designer’s eclectic style is hard to pin down. In the ’90s she showed stuffed-animal hats, currently she’s collaborating with Teva, and her last collection looked like what would happen if Blair Waldorf allowed herself to do LSD. But no matter the season, she always brings a Crayola box worth of bright colors, plus powerhouse models like Gigi and Bella Hadid and Kaia Gerber. We spoke with Sui about flatforms, her favorite meal in New York City, and wearing Elizabeth Taylor’s clothes.

How do you thank someone for a gift?
A personal phone call or handwritten note.

What would you never wear?
Never say never. What’s new in fashion is usually what’s been taboo before.

What’s your dream vacation?
An exotic destination with my family … African safari, sailing up the Nile, a Tahitian resort.

What’s a good book on your coffee table right now?
Franca: Chaos & Creation (Assouline).

Last show you binge-watched?
Babylon Berlin on Netflix. Looking forward to the third season later this year!

Secret to hosting a good party?
I like to suggest a dress code. We need more occasions to dress-up!

What is a trend that you like right now?
New Bohemian prairie fashion.

One you don’t understand?
Twenty-four seven yoga pants.

Favorite museum/gallery?
The Museum of Arts and Design on Columbus Circle. They are hosting my retrospective exhibition, The World of Anna Sui (running from September 12, 2019 through the end of April 2020).

Shoes you wear most often?
Lately, I’ve been wearing non-stop the Indio Jewell and Flatform sandals from my Spring collaboration with Teva. They’re both sporty and feminine, so they’re extremely versatile.

What’s your favorite…
Black 100 percent cotton nightgown from Hanro.

Mariage Freres, Rose d’Himalaya.

Anna Sui, L’amour Rose.

La Grenouille. My favorite dish is their Poularde Henri IV.

I love lurex socks!

Vintage rock T-shirts.

What are three photos of yourself that define your style?
This is a shot of me at a New Year’s party wearing Elizabeth Taylor’s actual Tiziano caftan (and Attilio Codognato snake bracelet) I had recently won at auction. She is my ultimate fashion muse, it’s so thrilling to own part of her glamorous legacy.

Photo: Courtesy of Anna Sui

I love the way I look in this Cibachrome portrait on the roof after a night at the Mudd Club by Edo Bertoglio, circa 1981 (from the Maripolarama book).

Photo: Edo Bertoglio

This is the solarized portrait of me used for the promotion of my retrospective exhibition, by Joshua Jordan. I love the psychedelic colors, and the dress from my fall 2008 collection is one of my favorites.

Photo: Joshua Jordan

Can you take a photo of your favorite space in your studio/office/home? And a brief explanation of why it’s your favorite?
This is the view from my desk. It is the mood board in my studio where I plan collections. It’s so helpful to always have a visual reference to plot inspiration, color, fabrics, etc.

Photo: Courtesy of Anna Sui

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New York’s Trippiest Designer Loves a Prairie Dress