Anna Sui reinvented pop-culture fashion with her signature rock-and-roll romantic label in the 1990s. Unlike other popular American designers, Sui is driven by telling stories head-to-toe about the worlds of cowgirls, grunge girls, hippie chicks, hula girls, Mods, pirate rock stars, Pre-Raphaelite maidens, and surfer nomads.
Beginning with her premiere catwalk show in 1991, Sui has shaped not only the garments, textiles, accessories, cosmetics, and interiors that comprise her design universe, but also the course of fashion history by popularizing the boutique fashion look. Sui’s unique approach to creating narratives through her work is legendary. A self-taught historian of culture, art, and fashion, she references music, books, exhibitions, movies, time periods, photography, and art movements in her designs.
Sui signature fashions, accessories, and products, explore wide-ranging materials and inspirations, including papier-mâché mannequin heads, linens by Vera, Claire McCardell sportswear, army surplus jackets, Japanese hankies, qipao dresses, wood-soled platforms from Goody Two-Shoes, the style of Jane Holzer, Zandra Rhodes, Nirvana, Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg, and Minnie Mouse. Her collections are replete with historicism, processed and creatively reimagined through her signature filter.
Organized by the Fashion and Textile Museum, London, The World of Anna Sui was curated by Dennis Nothdruft. Annie Carlano is curator of The Mint Museum’s iteration. The exhibition has toured the globe from New York to Shanghai. The Mint Museum is the last stop for the current international tour.
Craving more? Check out Mintwiki, The Mint Museum Library’s exhibition resource site for all things Anna Sui.