Anna Sui’s Kozmik Rock Star Hits A Sour Note

“I just love the way
the ’60s rock stars put themselves together, 

because they were like dandies and
peacocks. They really lived out their fantasies 

– and dressed their fantasies.”-
Anna Sui

Even before the first model set foot down the runway at the Anna Sui Spring 2015 show last night you could tell what was coming. The backdrop seemed to me to resemble an amalgam between Anna’s version of the artist Peter Max and the Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour.” Any thoughts of it “coming to take you away” at least for me; a child of the era in question; didn’t quite happen. According to Ms. Sui’s Facebook page the collection is called “Kozmik Rock Star” and was “inspired by the sartorially diverse eras of the ’60s and ’70s.” The tags could bear the line ” Jim Morrison and girlfriend Pamela Courson called from beyond the grave. They want their clothes back.”

Inspiration? At Pamela’s Store Themis in LA

In fact, Pamela did have a clothing store in L.A. called Themis (Jim backed her in it) which she decorated with peacock feathers on the walls and ceiling and I’m pretty sure that these are the sort of clothes that she sold. (Although from all reports I’ve read, the boutique was almost never open). While I enjoy a good acid flashback (sartorially speaking of course) this one was a bit too literal and un-wearable for my taste. I suppose it’s possible that those who weren’t around the first time that these styles were popular would enjoy living the fantasy although I’m skeptical

Joan Jett or Patti Smith?

The show opened with a look that reminded me of an early ’80s collection from Marc by Marc Jacobs when he first began doing that line… dark indigo denim with a Celestial Embroidered Denim Jacket, Iridescent Chiffon Shirt, Aurora Polka Dot Print Bikini Top and Indigo Celestial Embroidered Denim Shorts. Pretty much every look had some combination of the “buzz” (yes, pun) words Celestial, Aurora, Psychedelic, Stardust, Daisy, Moon, Butterfly or Cosmos. In regard to textiles there was Patchwork, Jacquard, Metallic, Chiffon, Crochet, Lame, Beaded and Iridescent. Articles of clothing included Capes, Capelets, Kimonos, Shorts, Rompers, Jumpsuits, Bikinis, Tunics, Vests, a Flight Suit and a Caftan. Featured colors: Navy, Teal, Black, Ivory, Emerald, Lipstick, Sky, Purple, Copper and Iridescent (if that can be called a color). The Sparkle and Glitter fairies definitely paid a big visit (I’m trying to resist saying they threw up on the clothes). Sui’s trademark bohemian vibe especially in terms of the prints used; either ditsy (a kewpie doll pattern top and pant) or an Indian Butterfly allover large print (seen in several pieces) for examples, were also clearly seen throughout. Her favored silhouettes of baby doll dresses appeared as well.

Jacquard and Soutache go unisex

There were a few menswear looks (if you could call them that?) as I don’t know many men, even in the fashion or entertainment industry, who would choose to wear a crushed velvet apricot-hued palazzo pant and print jacket. One of the male models seemed to channel David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust days, another one gave off the distinct Morrison vibe, others could be Mick, Keith, George in their younger days. I was surprised, as I’ve become aware of the issue, that there were no male or female models of color especially as Jimi Hendrix would have fit right in with this style esthetic. The female models all had that rocker chick or rocker guy’s girlfriend look happening.

George Harrison and Pattie Boyd or Keith Richards and Patti Hansen?

In the audience I noticed Grace Coddington of Vogue, Suzy Menkes and lovable Bill Cunningham happily snapping away. Is there anyone who derives such joy from his job? He is always smiling when he’s working and you certainly can’t say that about too many people. Many in the crowd were wearing either Anna Sui designs from past collection or were just Boho-Chic. I had the pleasure of seeing Anna’s Fall/Winter 2014 collection last February and liked it a lot better than this one. It was much more sophisticated with a sort of Orient Express opulence rather than a somewhat trashy glitter rock edge.

Loving the Boots

Another quote on Anna’s Facebook page informed us that: “While preserving her signature rock-n-roll romanticism, we will see fresh retro references.” Meanwhile, before Anna Sui showed her collection The New York Times observed a trend of three designers (Tommy Hilfiger, Zimmerman and Vera Wang) trying to recreate the flower child for a Spring/Summer 2015 Summer of Love. (link to article) It would seem that there are now four designers looking for that “fresh retro reference.”

– Laurel Marcus

Photos: Raeanne Rubenstein/ShowMagazine 1970, and Anna Sui’s Facebook page

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Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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